St. Francis on Custody of the Eyes

St. Francis on Custody of the Eyes

Elaine Marie Jordan —- SOURCE

St. Francis of Assisi used to exhort his brethren frequently to guard and mortify their senses with the utmost care. He especially insisted on the custody of the eyes, and he used this parable of a King’s two messengers to demonstrate how the purity of the eyes reveals the chastity of the soul.A certain pious King sent two messengers successively to the Queen with a communication from himself. The first messenger returned and brought an answer from the Queen, which he delivered exactly. But of the Queen herself he said nothing because he had always kept his eyes modestly cast down and had not raised them to look at her.

The second messenger also returned. But after delivering in a few words the answer of the Queen, he began to speak warmly of her beauty. “Truly, my lord,” he said, “the Queen is the most fair and lovely woman I have ever seen, and thou art indeed happy and blessed to have her for thy spouse.”

At this the King was angry and said: “Wicked servant, how did you dare to cast your eyes upon my royal spouse? I believe that you may covet what you have so curiously gazed upon.”

Then he commanded the other messenger to be recalled, and said to him: “What do you think of the Queen?”

He replied, “She listened very willingly and humbly to the message of the King and replied most prudently.”

But the Monarch again asked him, “But what do you think of her countenance? Did she not seem to you very fair and beautiful, more so than any other woman?”

The servant replied, “My lord, I know nothing of the Queen’s beauty. Whether she be fair or not, it is for thee alone to know and judge. My duty was only to convey thy message to her.”

The King rejoined, “You have answered well and wisely. You who have such chaste and modest eyes shall be my chamberlain. From the purity of your eyes I see the chastity of your soul. You are worthy to have the care of the royal apartments confided to you.”

Then, turning to the other messenger, he said: “But you, who have such unmortified eyes, depart from the palace. You shall not remain in my house, for I have no confidence in your virtue.

The Works of the Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi,
London: R. Washbourne, 1882, pp. 254-255

Posted on September 27, 2008

A Modesty Proposal: Father Thomas Morrow

Source

Christian commitment seems to be catching on with young singles. And the acid test of that commitment is chastity. Are we willing to truly live the Gospel, including its sexual morality?

As people think more this way, they begin to think about the root causes of unchastity. One that comes to the fore is immodesty. The recovery of modesty is a key factor in the effort to return to a decent, biblical sexual ethic.

The issue of modest dress seems to rest mostly with women since they have more sexual values to conceal than men. Men, too, must be modest, although they have fewer sexual values about which to be modest. (T-shirts with the arms cut deep into the center of the shirt would be an example of immodest dress for men.)

Since women are more integrated than men, and see the whole person they are often unaware of how men are looking at them. Yet, at the same time, since the woman does not experience sensuality to the same degree as the man, she who should be more concerned about modesty does not feel the need for modesty. Pope John Paul II, in making this point in his book “Love and Responsibility,” concludes that, “The evolution of modesty in woman requires some initial insight into the male psychology.”

There are other problems in trying to talk about feminine modesty. First, one must be very careful in criticizing the way a woman dresses. Many men have learned this the hard way. Second, women generally dress to impress women, not men. Many women are not as sensitive to immodest dress (in women) as are men. And third, since men are the ones affected, it would seem appropriate that they be asked their thoughts about modest dress in women. Unfortunately, not all men have ever even given this a thought.

When I was a young bachelor, living on the beach in California, I believed in chastity, and tried hard to live it, but the idea of modest dress in women never crossed my mind. If I saw a woman dressed in a tight mini-skirt, or a minuscule bikini, my interior response was something like “Ooooeeh.” (Alas, an all too typical male response.) I was perfectly ready to visually exploit her, even though I had no intention to exploit her physically. Only later, when I began to think about the root causes of lust, did I realize that this sort of dress was having a negative effect on me.

Few men take the time to reflect on just what is happening when they face a sexily dressed woman. One who has is Father David Knight. He wrote the following:

“In the measure that a particular style of dress is consciously and deliberately provocative — whether the deliberate intent is on the part of the designer, or the wearer, or of both—this way of dressing must be recognized as a mild form of reverse rape by which a person arouses unsolicited sexual desire on another person who may not want to be aroused. Whenever this happens to men (who are more subject to this kind of arousal than women) it always causes some anger, whether recognized or not. This may explain some of the hostility and aggressive behavior that men are guilty of toward women.”

After reading Father Knight, I began to observe my own reactions. I noticed that I did feel uncomfortable when I saw a woman walk into a room provocatively dressed. I noticed, too, that when a woman was modestly dressed, I felt quite comfortable. I can’t say I felt anger over immodestly dressed women, but I did feel a certain concern for the woman, whom I feared would perhaps be the object of exploitation by men.

So what are the elements of dress that cause reactions in men? The most common one I hear is short skirts. Several times I have heard from men, who were religious but in no way square, that they could not believe how short some of the dresses were on women coming in to Church for Mass. They saw such dress and devotion as somehow contradictory. I had to agree. Dresses or skirts more than a couple of inches above the knee do affect men sexually, at least in a mild way, but perhaps even more psychologically. Their opinion of the woman as a whole is affected more. Women wearing mid-calf dresses often look quite sharp, feminine and appealing to the man looking for a good, solid wife. Many men who have been burned before will shy away from a woman who wears short skirts.

Other things typically stir a certain sexual reaction in men: breasts partially clothed, tight dresses, “sexy hair.” Sometimes women are truly surprised to hear the way men are reacting to them, while at the same time other women are deeply aware of all this.

What it comes down to for a woman is this: Do you want to be remembered for your legs, your chest, or your curves? Or do you want to be remembered for your warmth, your femininity, your personality, your decency, your goodness. If a woman accentuates her physical values, she will surely drown out her other, more personal, more significant and more lasting values.

Some women respond, “Well, what will become of me if I don’t wear short skirts? Won’t I become a hopelessly outdated old maid?” There are several flaws in this argument. First, the same women will wear longer skirts from time to time and look quite fashionable.

Second, a good Christian woman has so much going for her, that even if short skirts were a benefit (which they aren’t), they would be of minimal importance. A woman living in the state of grace has a bit of an aura that far exceeds any fashion statement. As one person put it, “There is nothing more attractive than holiness.” Christian women sometimes underestimate their inner beauty, perhaps because the fashion designers have such a strong influence, placing so much stress on the exterior.

Now some may argue, “Well, we’ve come a long way (baby). Styles are much more revealing today than 60 years ago. It used to be risque for a woman to show her legs at the beach. The things that are called immodest today may seem quite commonplace 30 years from now.” True, but generally those who are committed to the Lord are not at the cutting edge of revealing styles. That sort of groundbreaking could be left to the pagans.

Others may argue, “Well, it’s too hot out.” Hot as it may be, there are modest clothes that allow you to be cool (those from India wear them). And, furthermore, which is more important, being comfortable or helping people avoid sin (and being treated better)?

When I see a woman modestly dressed, I think, ‘There’s a woman who doesn’t play up to the media, to the designers or to any man. She’s her own woman, or, better yet, she’s God’s woman.”

There are plenty of modest, chic women, who dress sharply, but not sexily, women who are in control of their own styles, to the extent that they are decent. These women are also in control of their social lives, and get less pressure for sexual favors.

Let’s face it, our world has virtually lost any sense of decency. Granted, it’s time for men to step forward and take part in the moral renewal of our culture. But women have their part to play as well, not only for the sake of the men who are trying to do the right thing, but for their own sakes as well. Women have the most to gain from chastity, and modesty is a good way to begin.

Endnote

Father Morrow is a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, D. C.

© New Covenant, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 200 Noll Plaza, Huntington, IN 46750-9957 or call 1-800-348-2440.

This item 2626 digitally provided courtesy of CatholicCulture.org

Men in Dresses: Why It’s Not Just About The Dress

Front Porch Catholic

Harry Styles, a well-known singer / celebrity wore a dress and liberals are loving it. “There’s so much joy to be had in playing with clothes,” he gushed. “I’ve never really thought too much about what it means. It just becomes this extended part of creating something.”

Any one person calling this out as emasculation and “an attack on real men” (cheers to Candace Owens), will be promptly attacked by the mob. Though its funny, Candace Owens is the only one I’ve heard in the news that has denounced it, I have mostly just heard people complain about “people hating it”. But maybe that’s just good ole media bias and shadow banning of these good people. Also, can we talk about this being the one and only situation in which a black woman is being attacked on behalf of a white man???

The left brings up that “men…

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Finally, Ratings for BOOKS!

Have you ever begun reading a book and right away regret wasting your time with it ? Solely because it plops an inappropriate scene (or story in general…).

Here are 5 websites that can help you figure out which fiction books are worth reading, morally, without having to worry about stumbling upon garbage no one needs to read.

The standards of morality that these books rating websites hold are not usually as high as ours as Catholics are (or rather, should be), but they explain enough about the book that one gets the general idea, and can decided whether or not to just leave the book or take a chance.

Our favorites in order:

Commonsense Media Book Review

Focus on the Family’s PluggedIn Book section

Compass Book Ratings

Rated Reads

Novel Book Ratings

Did we miss one? Let us know in the comments below!

Lizzie Reezay from LizziesAnswers Posted A Video On Why She Stopped Wearing Pants — and it is Epic

Lizzie Reezay from LizziesAnswers on youtube posted a video on November 11th titled, “Why I STOPPED WEARING PANTS…to Mass, Confession, Adoration, etc” and she hit the nail on the head.

This is really a beautiful witness to Christ and how He truly is and must always be our WHY. WHY we dress up for Mass, Adoration ect, WHY we avoid sin, WHY we act charitably and so on.

It must be for GOD, period, everything will fall into place, but we must put GOD first in all things. We do not dress up “for Men”, we dress up for GOD to honor Him. Period.

Lizzies video is a very good reminder to all of us, young or old, of the reason why we live, why we dress well in His Presence, why we strive for sainthood.

Scathing Letter on Immodesty by Cardinal Villeneuve, “Carelessness and immodesty of dress leads to impurity”

Carelessness and immodesty of dress leads to impurity, episcopate of Quebec, 1946 Jean-Marie Rodrigue Cardinal Villeneuve (1883-1947) (…) 9. It is first of all in the dress in general that the carelessness manifests itself which, too often, unfortunately, leads to impurity. How many people are slaves to these fashions which ignore the elementary rules of modesty and which sometimes constitute a direct provocation to evil. 10. Thanks be to God, Christian women in our circles appear in church and, generally in public assemblies, only decently dressed. Likewise, we are pleased to note that most of the women go out onto the streets, suitably dressed. But what will it be tomorrow, if one thinks of the growing vogue for “these clothes so cramped or as they seem made rather to highlight more what they should veil”, as Pius XII observes ( 1). Too many young girls easily accept indecent, sometimes provocative shortcuts, daring necklines where they sometimes have the impudence to place the cross of Our Lord, Master of purity!

Too many of them are showing off in “shorts”, still timidly on the street, but without embarrassment in the game! Often they reduce their beach costume even further. Immodest by their very nature, these clothes should be banned from our mores, even in sports (2). Note also that wearing pants under the slightest pretext, or, what is worse, with the aim of showing off in public, is not worthy of a true Christian. 11. To the undressing and carelessness of life in the open air is added the deplorable and too widespread use among even practicing Christians of circulating inside their homes in the lightest attire. How far we are from the delicacies of our Christian mothers of old! 12. We pity women of dubious morals who accept these shortcuts, these necklines, these negligee. But that a Christian, a wife, a mother, a young girl, far from reacting against these perverse currents, too often engage in them to their heart’s content, gradually unlearn modesty, ignore it, even despise it, how not to be amazed and saddened to tears!

13. The man himself does not escape the taste for the exhibition of his flesh: we go topless in public, we wear pants or a tight-fitting jersey that is too short. We thereby commit offenses against the virtue of modesty, when we are not the occasion of sin, in thought or in desire, for our neighbor. 14. What seems even more serious to us, not certainly as a provocation to evil, but rather as a harmful habit which can lead very far, is, in the girls’ costume, the dress that is too cropped, the complete nudity of the arms and legs. legs, when it does not go up to that of the torso. Without knowing it, these poor children thus scandalize, and often, their little brothers. How can a Christian mother forget it? If these children see some cassock in the street, a sign of the guardian of modesty and morality, they hasten to pull off what remains of their clothing to cover themselves. These little girls will grow old. To be modest, and often to be pure, they will have to go up a whole current which has carried them so far. Will they really be able to? Poor mothers, you are violating, know it, your serious duties as educators. 15. Immorality therefore uses fashion to corrupt souls;

she also uses sport, yet so useful and so necessary for the health of the body. It is a ruse of Satan to divert from their end games, pleasures, amusements, amusements whose primary goal is to rest the body by making life in society more pleasant. Satan rejoices in these “sports parties which take place in conditions of clothing, exhibitions and camaraderie incompatible with even the least demanding modesty” (3). In fact, so much care is taken to create clothing for sport that undresses or that seduces, and, in truth, under the most fallacious pretexts; one participates with so much without embarrassment in those parties of pleasure which make young men and young girls life companions for a day, far from the eyes and protective glances; camaraderie quickly becomes misplaced familiarity, and, with the help of alcoholic liquors, familiarity turns into shameless companionship. Thus the excursions, the parts of ski or chalet, the exercise of the skating in all its forms, still other amusements, become directly or indirectly occasions of faults all the more tempting that they present themselves under the guise of ‘legitimate self-relaxation. (…)

42. This then is the Christian’s judgment on this agonizing problem of modern immorality. Aware of his dignity as a man and a Christian, aware of the disastrous consequences of immorality on the family and civil society, he esteems the beautiful virtue of purity at a high price and he practices it according to the requirements of his state of life. . He understands that morality is superior to pleasure and fashion, that there are limits that it is never allowed to cross without injuring his conscience and his faith. For him, morality, and especially purity, are treasures that must be protected against any violation. By protecting them, with all the necessary sacrifices, he has the joy of increasing the glory of his Mother Church and the satisfaction of helping his brothers. (…) 51. The struggle is therefore inevitable. You will accept it courageously, and to emerge victorious, you will watch out for the occasions of sin, you will avoid them with the grace of God: you will not entertain bad thoughts, you will not warm up any shameful desire, you will flee bad company, you will refuse to allow your mind to be corrupted by obscene literature and provocative illustrations, you will keep your heart firm and upright by avoiding risky dating, immoral dances, corrupting cinema, pagan social gatherings, idleness, mother of all vices, and intemperance in the use of intoxicating drinks. In short, to practice purity, you will cultivate modesty, which is an instinctive fear of the soul at the first approach of evil; you will cultivate modesty, which is moderation, a sense of proportion, which usually avoids anything that is likely to arouse sexual passion in yourself and in others. Modesty and modesty, such are the ornaments and the guardians of purity. (…) 57. Your [that of fathers and mothers of families] educative action will be exercised from an early age, at this period when habits are created which will influence all life. Please do not get your children used to the negligee, we dare say, to nudism. “O Christian mothers,”

exclaims the Sovereign Pontiff, “if you knew what future of anguish and perils, of ill-contained shame, you are preparing your sons and daughters by accustoming them imprudently to live barely covered, and making them lose the sense of modesty, you would be ashamed of yourselves and you would dread the insult that you do to yourselves and the harm that you cause to the children whom Heaven has entrusted to you to bring up them in Christianity ”(4 )

Notes
(1) Pie XII, La Mode, Discours du 22 mai 1941, E.S.P. 
(2) Synode de Québec (1940), décret 102, note : « Que si l’on demande en quoi consiste un habit modeste et décent pour une chrétienne, on comprendra que c’est celui qui couvre la poitrine et les bras d’étoffes non transparentes, qui descend au moins à mi-jambe, et dont la coupe d’une ampleur convenable protège la pudeur en dissimulant les lignes du corps » (Cardinal Rouleau, 8 décembre 1930Mandements des Évêques de Québec, vol. XIII, Supplément 45) [en fait : 36].
S.[on] E.[xcellence] le Cardinal Villeneuve, Communication de l’Archevêché de Québec contre les modes païennes27 juin 1945.
Semaine Religieuse de Québec, 57e année, n° 44, 5 juillet 1945. p. 690.
S. E. Mgr Arthur Douville, Mandements des Évêques de Saint-Hyacinthe, vol. XXI, p. 354.
(3) Pie XII, La Mode, Discours du 22 mai 1941, E.S.P.
(4) Pie XII, ibid.

Référence
Archevêques et évêques de la province de Québec, « Croisade de pureté », Lettre pastorale collective, n°114, 5 mai 1946 ; paru dans : Mandements, lettres pastorales et circulaires des évêques du Québec, volume 17, 1943-1954, Chancellerie de l’archevêché, Québec, 1955, p. 241-243 ; p. 253-254 ; p. 257 ; p. 259.