The Apparition of Our Lady of Good Success

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“In those times the atmosphere will be saturated with the spirit of impurity which, like a filthy sea, will engulf the streets and public places with incredible license.… Innocence will scarcely be found in children, or modesty in women.” — Our Lady of Good Success

During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Our Lady of Good Success appeared in Quito, Ecuador to a Spanish nun whose little-known but extraordinary life has a direct connection with our days.

The Pope’s “infallibility will be declared a dogma of Faith by the same Pope chosen to proclaim the dogma of the mystery of my Immaculate Conception. He will be persecuted and imprisoned in the Vatican through the usurpation of the Pontifical States and through the malice, envy, and avarice of an earthly monarch.”

“Unbridled passions will give way to a total corruption of customs because Satan will reign through the Masonic sects, targeting the children in particular to insure general corruption

“Unhappy, the children of those times! Seldom will they receive the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. As for the sacrament of Penance, they will confess only while attending Catholic schools, which the devil will do his utmost to destroy by means of persons in authority.

“The same will occur with Holy Communion. Oh, how it hurts me to tell you that there will be many and enormous public and hidden sacrileges!

“In those times, the sacrament of Extreme Unction will be largely ignored.… Many will die without receiving it, being thereby deprived of innumerable graces, consolation, and strength in the great leap from time to eternity.

“The sacrament of Matrimony, which symbolizes the union of Christ with the Church, will be thoroughly attacked and profaned. Masonry, then reigning, will implement iniquitous laws aimed at extinguishing this sacrament. They will make it easy for all to live in sin, thus multiplying the birth of illegitimate children without the Church’s blessing….

“Secular education will contribute to a scarcity of priestly and religious vocations.”

“The holy sacrament of Holy Orders will be ridiculed, oppressed, and despised, for in this both the Church and God Himself are oppressed and reviled, since He is represented by His priests.

“The devil will work to persecute the ministers of the Lord in every way, working with baneful cunning to destroy the spirit of their vocation and corrupting many. Those who will thus scandalize the Christian flock will bring upon all priests the hatred of bad Christians and the enemies of the One, Holy, Roman Catholic, and Apostolic Church. This apparent triumph of Satan will cause enormous suffering to the good pastors of the Church…and to the Supreme Pastor and Vicar of Christ on earth who, a prisoner in the Vatican, will shed secret and bitter tears in the presence of God Our Lord, asking for light, sanctity, and perfection for all the clergy of the world, to whom he is King and Father.”

“Unhappy times will come wherein those who should fearlessly defend the rights of the Church will instead, blinded despite the light, give their hand to the Church’s enemies and do their bidding. But when [evil] seems triumphant and when authority abuses its power, committing all manner of injustice and oppressing the weak, their ruin shall be near. They will fall and crash to the ground.

“At the end of the nineteenth century and throughout a great part of the twentieth, many heresies will be propagated in these lands.…“Then will the Church, joyful and triumphant like a young girl, reawaken and be comfortably cradled in the arms of my most dear and elect son of those times. If he lends an ear to the inspirations of grace–one of which will be the reading of these great mercies that my Son and I have had toward you–we shall fill him with graces and very special gifts and will make him great on earth and much greater in Heaven. There we have reserved a precious seat for him because, heedless of men, he will have fought for truth and ceaselessly defended the rights of the Church, deserving to be called ‘martyr.’”

“The small number of souls who will secretly safeguard the treasure of Faith and virtues will suffer a cruel, unspeakable, and long martyrdom. Many will descend to their graves through the violence of suffering and will be counted among the martyrs who sacrificed themselves for the country and the Church.

“To be delivered from the slavery of these heresies, those whom the merciful love of my Son has destined for this restoration will need great will-power, perseverance, courage, and confidence in God. To try the faith and trust of these just ones, there will be times when all will seem lost and paralyzed. It will then be the happy beginning of the complete restoration….

“In those times the atmosphere will be saturated with the spirit of impurity which, like a filthy sea, will engulf the streets and public places with incredible license.… Innocence will scarcely be found in children, or modesty in women.

“He who should speak seasonably will remain silent.

“There shall be scarcely any virgin souls in the world. The delicate flower of virginity will seek refuge in the cloisters.…Without virginity, fire from heaven will be needed to purify these lands.…

“Sects, having permeated all social classes, will find ways of introducing themselves into the very heart of homes to corrupt the innocence of children. The children’s hearts will be dainty morsels to regale the devil.…

“Religious communities will remain to sustain the Church and work with courage for the salvation of souls.… The secular clergy will fall far short of what is expected of them because they will not pursue their sacred duty. Losing the divine compass, they will stray from the way of priestly ministry mapped out for them by God and will become devoted to money, seeking it too earnestly.

“Pray constantly, implore tirelessly, and weep bitter tears in the seclusion of your heart, beseeching the Eucharistic Heart of my most holy Son to take pity on His ministers and to end as soon as possible these unhappy times by sending to His Church the Prelate who shall restore the spirit of her priests.”

The Message of Our Lady of Fatima

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“My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge, and the way that will lead you to God.”
The Message of Our Lady of Fatima (Selections)
(Fatima, Portugal, 1917)
By Dom Augustine Marie, OSB
Edited and Notes by Br Sean, OSsS

“I am the Lady of the Rosary, I have come to warn the faithful to amend their lives and ask
for pardon for their sins. They must not offend Our Lord any more, for He is already too
grievously offended by the sins of men. People must say the Rosary. Let them continue
saying it every day.”
Our Lady gravely said, “Sacrifice yourselves for sinners and say often, especially when you
make some sacrifice, ‛O my Jesus, this is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and
in reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.’ ”

On July 13, 1917 the Blessed Virgin unveiled a terrifying reality before the three children’s
eyes. Lucia recounts: “Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire, which seemed to be under
the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls, in human form, like transparent
burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in this conflagration in
clouds of smoke, lifted by flames coming out of their bodies. They rose and fell on all
sides, like sparks in roaring fires, without weight or direction, amid shrieks and groans of
pain and despair that terrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be
distinguished by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals,
black and transparent like burning coals. This vision lasted but a moment, thanks to our
good Mother from Heaven who had warned us beforehand, and promised to take us to
Heaven. Otherwise, I think we would have died of horror and fear. Then we raised our eyes
to Our Lady, who said with kindness and sadness: ‘You have seen Hell, where the souls of
poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My
Immaculate Heart. If people do what I am going to tell you, many souls will be saved and
there will be peace.’ ”
Our Lady further said, “Pray, pray a great deal and make many sacrifices, for many souls
go to Hell because they have no one to make sacrifices and to pray for them.” (Fatima in
Lucia’s Own Words)
One more proof
The existence of Hell arouses disputes. Sister Lucia wrote, a few years before her death on
February 13, There is no shortage of unbelievers in the world who deny these truths, but
they are no less true for being denied. Their disbelief does not save unbelievers from the
horrors of Hell, should a life of sin lead them there. … At Fatima, (God) sent us His
Message as one more proof of these truths. This Message recalls them to us, so that we do
not let ourselves be fooled by the false doctrines of unbelievers who deny them, or of
deceivers who distort them. To this end, the Message assures us that Hell is a fact, and that
the souls of poor sinners end up there.” (Calls from the Message of Fatima, 2003, ch. 14)
The Blessed Virgin told them to keep this vision secret. She did not permit Lucia to reveal
it until 1941. Jacinta retained an impression of it which left a profound mark on her. From
this day on, she was very preoccupied with the fate of poor souls who went to Hell. She
often sat on the ground or on a rock, and, deep in thought, she would say, “Oh! Hell! How
sorrowful I am for the souls who are going to Hell!” Yet she did not confine herself to
futile pain but she prayed and sacrificed heroically for those who were in danger of being
lost.
A painful reality
The vision of Hell which the three children were favored with is not an exaggeration of the
reality it represented. It is a presentation of it within the grasp of the human mind. In 1992,
Lucia, who had been a Carmelite in Coïmbra, Portugal since 1948, told a Cardinal who had
come to visit her, “Hell is a reality… Continue to preach about Hell, for Our Lord Himself
spoke of Hell and it is in the Holy Scriptures. God condemns no one to Hell. People
condemn themselves to Hell. God has given mankind the freedom of choice, and He
respects this human freedom.»
Our Lady appeared to Jacinta several times between December 1919 and February 1920.
Our Lady told her many things including:
“The sins of the world are very great … If men only knew what eternity is, they would
do everything in their power to change their lives.”
“Fly from riches and luxury; love poverty and silence; have charity, even for bad
people.”
“More souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason.”[1]
“Certain fashions will be introduced that will offend Our Lord very much.” “Woe to
women lacking in modesty.”[2]
“The Mother of God wants more virgin souls bound by the vow of chastity.”
“Confession is a sacrament of mercy and we must confess with joy and trust.”
“Many marriages are not of God and do not please Our Lord.”
“Our Lady can no longer uphold the arm of Her Divine Son which will strike the
world. If people amend their lives, Our Lord will even now save the world, but if they
do not, punishment will come.” “People must renounce sin and not persist in it, as has
been done until now. It is essential to repent greatly.”
“Tell everybody that God gives graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Tell
them to ask graces from Her and that the Heart of Jesus wishes to be venerated
together with the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Ask them to plead for peace from the
Immaculate Heart of Mary, for the Lord has confided the peace of the world to Her.”
The vision of hell was shown at the beginning of this century to impress upon men and to
confirm the doctrine of Hell; thereby influencing man to stop offending God by sin. Of the
three children who saw hell, Jacinta was the most affected by this vision. The following are
some of her words on hell.
“Oh, Hell! Oh, Hell!” “Mother of God have pity on those who do not amend their lives.” “If
men only know what awaits them in eternity, they would do everything in their power to
change their lives.”
Often she would say to her brother, “Francisco, are you praying with me? We must pray
very much to save souls from hell, so many go there. So many!”
At times she would ask of Lucia, “Why doesn’t Our Lady show Hell to sinners? If only
they saw it, they would never commit sins again.”
Finally she said, “Look, I am going to heaven soon but you are to stay here. If Our Lady
lets you, tell everyone what hell is like so that they won’t sin anymore and not go there.”
Later Interview with Sr. Lucia on Hell
The following is a rare interview with Sister Lucia [the Fatima visionary who died in
2005], by Father Lombardi. It was recorded in the Vatican weekly “Osservatore della
Domenica” February 7, 1954.
Fr. Lombardi: “Tell me, is the ‘Better World Movement’ a response of the Church to the
words spoken to Our Lady?”
Lucia: “Father, there is certainly a great need for this renewal. If it is not done, and taking
into account the present development of humanity, only a limited number of the human
race will be saved.”
Fr. Lombardi: “Do you really believe that many will go to Hell? I hope that God will save
the greater part of humanity.” [He had just written a book entitled: Salvation for Those
Without Faith.]
Lucia: “Father, many will be lost.”
Fr. Lombardi: “It is true that the world is full of evil, but there is always a hope of
salvation.”
Lucia: “No Father, many will be lost.”
Father Lombardi remembered that Lucia had seen Hell and added: “Her words disturbed
me. I returned to Italy with that grave warning impressed on my heart.”[3]
The vision of hell was shown at the beginning of this century to impress upon men and to
confirm the doctrine of Hell; thereby urging man to stop offending God by sin. Of the three
children who saw hell, Jacinta was the most affected by this vision. The following are some
of her words on hell:
“Oh, Hell! Oh, Hell!” “Mother of God have pity on those who do not amend their lives.” “If
men only know what awaits them in eternity, they would do everything in their power to
change their lives.”
Often she would say to her brother, “Francisco, are you praying with me? We must pray
very much to save souls from hell, so many go there. So many!”
At times she would ask of Lucia, “Why doesn’t Our Lady show Hell to sinners? If only
they saw it, they would never commit sins again.”
Finally she said, “Look, I am going to heaven soon but you are to stay here. If Our Lady
lets you, tell everyone what hell is like so that they won’t sin anymore and not go there.”
The vision of hell was not revealed until 1941.
Our Lady at Fatima, during all six of her apparitions told the children they must pray,
especially the rosary. The three children responded generously to Our Lady’s requests.
What is keeping you from doing the same thing? Do not say, “I do not have the time!”
Because if you are too busy to spend time with God in prayer, then you are busier than God
intends you to be! Meditate upon the following words of Our Lord. “What does it profit a
man if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul?”(Matt. 16:26)
Fatima Prayers (Prayers revealed to the Fatima visionaries by an angel and Our
Lady)
“O my God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You. I ask pardon for those who do not
believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You.”
“O Most Holy Trinity I adore You. My God, my God, I love You in the Most Blessed
Sacrament.”
“Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the
most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the
Tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by
which He is offended. And by the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the
Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners.”
Our Lady gravely said, Sacrifice yourselves for sinners and say often, especially when you
make some sacrifice, ‛Jesus, this is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in
reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.’ ”
“When you say the Rosary, say after each mystery: ‘O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save
us from the fires of Hell; and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy
mercy’.”

St. John Chrysostom on Modesty

“You carry your snare everywhere and spread your nets in all places. You allege that you never invited others to sin. You did not, indeed, by your words, but you have done so by your dress and your deportment. … When you have made another sin in his heart, how can you be innocent? Tell me, whom does this world condemn? Whom do judges punish? Those who drink poison or those who prepare it and administer the fatal potion? You have prepared the abominable cup, you have given the death dealing drink, and you are more criminal than are those who poison the body; you murder not the body but the soul. And it is not to enemies you do this, nor are you urged on by any imaginary necessity, nor provoked by injury, but out of foolish vanity and pride.”

“‘Great modesty and great propriety does the blessed Paul require of women, and that not only with respect to their dress and appearance: he proceeds even to regulate their speech.And what says he? “Let the woman learn in silence”; that is, let her not speak at all in the church; which rule he has also given in his Epistle to the Corinthians, where he says,”It is a shame for women to speak in the church” (1 Cor. xiv. 35.); and the reason is, that the law has made them subject to men.’ “

cover photo: Image: Chrysostemos | Carl Christian Peters

Lucia of Fatima’s Reflections on Fashions

Calls from the Message of Fatima (also known as Appeals from the Message of Fatima) is a book written by Sister Lúcia of Fátima (O.C.D.), the last surviving seer of Virgin Mary apparitions in Cova da Iria, Fátima, Portugal.

Finding herself inundated with constantly repeated questions concerning the Marian apparitions occurred in Fátima, Portugal, and the visionaries, the message they received and the reason for some of the requests contained in that message, and feeling that it was beyond her to reply individually to each questioner, Sister Lúcia asked the Holy See for permission to write a text in which she could reply in general to the many questions that had been put to her. This permission was granted, hence the present work entitled in English language: “Calls” or “Appeals” from the Message of Fatima.

This book is, in effect, a long letter, written entirely by Sister Lúcia and addressed by her to all those who have written to her concerning their doubts, questions, and difficulties, and their desire for greater fidelity in living up to what was asked for from Heaven in the Cova da Iria.

We recommend reading the book in its entirety online here.

Would that the clothes people wear in our own day had even a touch of the modesty, the respect of human dignity, displayed by those worn by the village women of those days! It will be good for us to recall here what Sacred Scripture has to say on this subject. “Yahweh God gave the man this admonition. ‘You may eat indeed of all trees in the garden. Nevertheless of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you are not to eat, for on the day you eat of it you most surely will die. The woman saw that the tree was good to eat and pleasing to the eye… she took some of the fruit and ate it. She gave some also to her husband who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they realized that they were naked. So they sewed fig leaves together to make themselves loin cloths. (..) But Yahweh God called to man. ‘Where are you?’ he asked. ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden.’ he replied ‘I was afraid because I was naked so I hid.’ ‘Who told you that you were naked?’ he asked ‘Have you been eating of the tree I forbade you to eat?’ The man replied ‘It was the woman you put with me; she gave me the fruit, and I ate it’.

Then Yahweh God (..) to the man he said ‘Because you listened to the voice of your wife and ate from the tree from which I had forbidden you to eat (..) accursed be the soil because of you (..) It shall yield you brambles and thistles (..) With sweat on your brow shall you eat your bread,until you return to the soil, as you were taken from it. For dust you are and dust you shall return.’ Yahweh God made cloths out of skins for the man and his wife, and they put them on (Gen 2,16-17; 3,6-21).

This sacred text shows us the God covered the bodies that had stripped themselves, through sin, of the garment of grace. For this reason, we must all clothe ourselves decently, modestly and with dignity. Those who appear indecently dressed are an incentive to sin, and so are responsible not only for their own sins but also for those that others may commit because of them. Reflect that fashion, if it is indecent-and we see that the world unfortunately follows it as if it were a law-is a trick of the devil,a clever trap in which the devil catches souls, in the same way as hunters catch game in the woods and fields.

God did not give us clothing as an adornment in order to feed our human vanity and frivolity. No! He gave it to us as a protection against sin, as a sign of penance for sin committed, as a punishment for it, as well as to remind us of the laws of God which we are all obliged to obey.

Let us begin by examining how it is a sign of punishment and penance for sin committed and a protection against temptation. The sacred text tells us that, after they had sinned, Adam and Eve tried to cover themselves with fig leaves; but God did not think this was enough, because Sacred Scripture tells us, He ‘made clothes out of skins for the man and his wife, and they put them on’. (Gen 3,21)

Then follows a description of the punishment and the penance imposed on account of sin: Yahweh God expelled him from the garden of Eden, to till the soil from which he had been taken (Gen 3, 23) And this ‘until you return to the soil, as you were taken from it. For dust you are dust you shall return.’ (Gen 2, 17) Yes, your body will die because you sinned and transgressed the law of your God. But worse still, your soul will be lost forever unless you repent and do penance. You will die if you do not change your life, if you do not return to obeying the law of your God.

Notice however that it is not only for these two reasons-punishment and penance of our sins-that God clothes us; it served other purposes too. Besides being a protection against sin, the modest clothing with which we must cover ourselves is a distinguishing mark setting us apart in the stream of immorality and enabling us to be, for the world, true witnesses of Christ.

Clothing also serves to remind us of the laws of God, and of our serious obligation to obey them. God, in fact, asked his people to wear over their clothes concrete signs which would remind them of His Holy Commandments. ‘Speak to the people of Israel and bid them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put upon the tassel of each corner a cord of blue, and it shall be to you a tassel to look upon and remember all the commandments of the Lord, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to go after wantonly. (Num . 15, 38-39)

Let us look at what God is saying here: ‘The tassels of your clothes will serve to remind you of the commandments of the Lord, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to go after wantonly.’ Our clothes then, are to be protection for the eyes and the heart, so that we will not allow ourselves to be caught in the temptations of the flesh, the devil and the world. The tassels mentioned in the text undoubtedly envisage some kind of decoration on our clothing; but such decoration must be in accordance with modesty, with the dignity of the human person, with decency, in short, with morality, prompting us to observe the commandments of the Law of God.

Finally let us reflect on the expression God uses: ‘throughout generations’. This makes us think that God was not speaking for the salvation of the Israelites alone. What He said to them concerns us today, as it will concern those who come after us-not in the external form of the sign chosen which, naturally changes, but in the meaning and specific purpose we must not lose sight of, if we are to respect the order of things as God created them. Because the Law comes to us from God and does not change; it is immutable as He Himself is immutable.

Sister Lucia of Fatima

Modesty & Decorum – St. Jean Baptiste de la Salle

It is important to note that these are not BINDING UNDER SIN. These are merely ideas from a Saint for the times.

Modesty and Decorum
Twenty-Five Excerpts from the Writings of St. Jean Baptiste de la Salle

‘Decorum requires that you have a great horror for anything even remotely suggesting impurity. Far from allowing yourself to laugh and to make jokes about it, you must show that you do not find anything about the topic in any way amusing. Those who laugh about such things give proof that they live more according to the flesh than according to the spirit and that their hearts are thoroughly corrupt.’

St. Jean Baptiste de la Salle 

1. It is surprising that most Christians look upon decorum and politeness as merely human and worldly qualities and do not think of raising their minds to any higher views by considering them as virtues that have reference to God, to their neighbor, and to themselves.

This illustrates very well how little true Christianity is found in the world and how few among those who live in the world are guided by the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

Still, it is this Spirit alone which ought to inspire all our actions, making them holy and agreeable to God.

2. It is not appropriate to wear a feather behind your ear, to put flowers in your ear, or to have pierced ears with earrings. . . The most beautiful finery for your ears is to keep them unadorned and clean.

3. While Saint Peter and Saint Paul forbid women to curl their hair, they condemn with even greater reason this sort of behavior in men, who, having naturally far less inclination than women to such vanities, ought to reject them all the more resolutely and be much less inclined to yield to them.

4. It is something very improper, something that shows great vanity and is not at all becoming in a Christian, to apply beauty spots and paint to your face, covering it with powder and rouge. The finest ornament of the cheeks is a modest reserve, which makes wellborn people blush when an indecent word, a lie, or a slander is uttered in their presence.

In fact, only brazen and shameless people can tell lies with ease or say or do something unseemly without blushing.

5. Everyone knows how repulsive it is to see such filth on people’s clothes, which ought always to be very clean, no matter how poor they might be, for they are the ornaments of a servant of God and a member of Jesus Christ.

6. Because you ought to consider your body only as a living temple where God wishes to be adored in spirit and in truth and as a living tabernacle that Jesus Christ has chosen as his dwelling place, you must, considering these noble privileges that you enjoy, show much respect for your body. These considerations ought to make you resolve not to touch your body or even to look at it without an indispensable necessity. . .

It is more contrary to decorum and refinement to look at or to touch anyone else, especially a person of the other sex, in a way that God forbids us to do regarding even ourselves.

7. Women must also take great care to cover their body decently and to keep their face veiled, as Saint Paul advises, because it is not allowed to display in themselves what is not allowable and decent for others to look at. Thus, it is highly improper to look at a woman’s chest, still more improper to touch it. It is not permitted even to stare fixedly at her face.

8. It is never appropriate to speak about the parts of the body that must always be kept hidden and about certain bodily necessities to which nature has subjected all of us or even to name them. If sometimes you cannot avoid this in the case of a sick person or someone who is indisposed, do so in such a courteous manner that the terms you use cannot offend against decorum.

9. It is very rude, even shameful, for you to kick anyone, no matter in what part of the body. This is something that cannot be permitted to anyone, not even to a master when dealing with his servants. This kind of punishment characterizes a violent and irrational person and does not become Christians, who must not maintain or display any characteristics but kindness, moderation, and wisdom in everything they do.

10. Although civility has nothing to say about the hour when you ought to retire or the time when you ought to get up, it is a matter of decorum to rise early in the morning. Besides the fact that it is a defect to sleep too long, it is, says Saint Ambrose, a shameful and intolerable thing for the sun at its rising to find you still in bed.

It is likewise to change and to reverse the order of nature for you to make day into night and night into day, as some people do. The devil induces you to act in this way, for he knows that darkness provides occasions for sin. He is pleased if you live most of your life during the night. Instead, follow Saint Paul’s advice. Lay aside, he says, the works of darkness; walk, that is, act with decorum, as we must during the day. Make use of the weapons of light; devote the night to sleep, and use the day to do all your work. You would no doubt be ashamed and embarrassed to do in broad daylight the works of darkness and to mingle with your actions anything out of place when you can be seen by others.

11. It is, therefore, entirely contrary to decorum, as Saint Paul observes, to go to bed when morning is breaking, as some people do, and to get up around noon. It is quite proper, both for your health and for the good of your soul, to go to bed not later than ten o’clock and to get up no later than six in the morning. Say to yourself the words of Saint Paul, and repeat them to those whom laziness keeps in bed: The time has come for us to rise from our sleep; the night is past, and the day has dawned. Thus you may then address God in the words of the Royal Prophet: O God, my God, I watch for you from the break of day. [Ps. 62]

12. It is not like a person of good judgment to have to be called repeatedly to get up or to hesitate long in doing so. Hence, as soon as you are awake, you must rise promptly.

13. Have a regular time for going to bed, just as you ought to have for rising. It is no less important to perform well this last action of the day than to perform well the first.

14. Children must not go to bed before going to greet their father and mother and wishing them a good night. This is a duty and an act of respect that nature requires them to perform.

15. Just as you must get up with much modesty and in doing so give an indication of your piety, so you must also go to bed in a Christian manner, doing this with all possible propriety, only after having prayed to God. To act like this, you must neither undress nor go to bed when anyone else is present. Unless you are married, you must, above all, never go to bed in the presence of anyone of the other sex, for this is entirely contrary to decency and refinement.

16. It is even less allowable for people of different sexes to sleep in the same bed, even if they are only young children, nor is it appropriate for people of the same sex to sleep together. This is what Saint Francis de Sales recommended to Madame de Chantal in regard to her children, when she still lived in the world, as something extremely important and as much a practice of decorum as one of Christian morality and piety.

17. Decorum also suggests that when going to bed, you keep your eyes away from your body and avoid glancing at it. This is something that parents must strive to teach their children to help them preserve the treasure of purity that they must hold very dear and at the same time conserve the great honor of being members of Jesus Christ and consecrated to his service. As soon as you are in bed, cover your whole body except your face, which must always remain uncovered.

18. When in bed, it is not refined to talk, for beds are made only to sleep in. As soon as you are in bed, you must be ready to go to sleep promptly.

19. It was sin that created the need for us to dress and to cover our body with clothing. This is why, because we carry with us at all times the condition of sinners, we must never appear not only without clothing but also without being fully dressed. This is required both by decency and by the law of God.

A great many people take the liberty of wearing their dressing gowns, often without other clothing or sometimes just with slippers. Although it seems that as long as you do not go outside, you can do practically anything in this attire, it is entirely too casual to be dressed only this way for any length of time.

20. It is against decorum to put on your dressing gown as soon as you have come back home, in order to be comfortable, and to let yourself be seen dressed like this. It is only elderly or infirm people who can be permitted to act in this way.

21. It is also a matter of refinement to dress promptly and to put on first the articles of clothing that cover the body most completely, so as to keep hidden the parts that nature forbids us to show. Always do this out of respect for the majesty of God, which you must keep constantly before your eyes. . . as refinement requires that when you dress, you put on first the articles of clothing that cover most of the body, it is also a sign of decorum, when you undress, to take off the same articles last, so that you cannot be seen without being decently attired.

While undressing, place your clothes neatly on either a chair or some other place that is clean and where you can easily find them again the next morning without having to hunt for them.

22. There are some women who need two or three hours, and sometimes the entire morning, to get dressed. One could say of them with justice that their body is their God and that the time they use in ornamenting it is time they rob from the One who is their only living and true God.

This also robs time from the care they must take of their families and children, something they ought to regard as one of the duties required of them by their state of life. They certainly cannot act in this way without violating God’s laws.

23. Clean clothing tells a lot about your attitude and discipline and generally gives a good idea of your virtue, an impression that is not without basis.

For clothing to be proper, it must suit the person who wears it and be in keeping with the person’s build, age, and state of life. There is nothing more unseemly than clothes that do not fit the person wearing them.

24. In your clothing, negligence is not to be avoided less than eccentricity; both these excesses are equally to be condemned. Affectation is contrary to God’s law, which condemns luxury and vanity in your clothing and in other exterior ornaments. Negligence in your attire is a sign that you either do not pay much attention to God’s presence or lack sufficient respect for God. It also shows that you do not respect your own body, which you ought to honor as a temple inhabited by the Holy Spirit and the tabernacle that Jesus Christ has the goodness to visit frequently.

25. Women, being by nature less capable of great things than men, are also more inclined to vanity and luxury in their clothing.

This is why Saint Paul, after exhorting men to avoid the more gross vices into which they fall more easily than do women, goes on to recommend to women to dress modestly, to let reserve and chastity be their adornments, not to wear pearls, gold jewelry, and sumptuous apparel, and to dress as women who show by their good works that they profess to live a life of piety. [1 Tim 2:10]

After this exhortation of the great Apostle, there is nothing more to be prescribed for a Christian than to observe it and to imitate in this matter the early Christians, who edified everyone by the modesty and simplicity of their clothing.

St. Clement of Alexandria Excerpts on Purity

‘But by no manner of means are women to be allotted to uncover and exhibit any part of their person, lest both fall — the men by being excited to look, the women by drawing on themselves the eyes of the men.

But always must we conduct ourselves as in the Lord’s presence, lest He say to us, as the apostle in indignation said to the Corinthians, “When ye come together, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper.”‘

‘On no account must a woman be permitted to show a man any portion of her body naked, for fear lest both fall: the one by gazing eagerly, the other by delighting to attract those eager glances.’

‘From filthy speaking we ourselves must entirely abstain, and stop the mouths of those who practise it by stern looks and averting the face, and by what we call making a mock of one: often also by a harsher mode of speech. “For what proceedeth out of the mouth,” He says, “defileth a man,” — shows him to be unclean, and heathenish, and untrained, and licentious, and not select, and proper, and honourable, and temperate.’

‘Those who glory in their looks – not in their hearts – dress to please others.’

‘Luxurious clothing that cannot conceal the shape of the body is no more a covering. For such clothing, falling close to the body, takes its form more easily. . . As a result, the whole make of the body is visible to spectators, although they cannot see the body itself.’

St. Augustine, On Marriage and Concupiscence

IN TWO BOOKS, ADDRESSED TO THE COUNT VALERIUS

BY AURELIUS AUGUSTIN, BISHOP OF HIPPO; WRITTEN IN 419 AND 420,

Extract from Augustine’s Retractions (Book II, Chapter 53): I addressed two books to the Illustrious Count Valerius, upon hearing that the Pelagians had brought sundry vague charges upon us— how, for instance, we condemned marriage by maintaining Original Sin. These books are entitled, On Marriage and Concupiscence. We maintain that marriage is good; and that it must not be supposed that the concupisence of the flesh, or “the law in our members which wars against the law of mind,” is a fault of marriage. Conjugal chastity makes a good use of the evil of concupiscence in the procreation of children. My first treatise contained two books. The first of them found its way into the hands of Julianus the Pelagian, who wrote four books in opposition to it. Out of these, somebody extracted sundry passages, and sent them to Count Valerius; he handed them to us, and after I had received them I wrote a second book in answer to these extracts. The first book of this work of mine opens with these words: “Our new heretics, most beloved son Valerius,” while the second begins thus: “Amid the cares of your duty as a soldier.”

Companion Letter
Book I
Book II

SOURCE NewAdvent

Modesty, Continence and Chastity – St. Padre Pio

‘There are, moreover, three virtues which perfect the devout person with regard to control of his own senses. These are: modesty, continence and chastity. By the virtue of modesty the devout person governs all his exterior acts. With good reason, then, does St. Paul recommend this virtue to all and declare how necessary it is and as if this were not enough he considers that this virtue should be obvious to all. By continence the soul exercises restraint over all the senses: sight, touch, taste, smell and hearing. By chastity, a virtue which ennobles our nature and makes it similar to that of the Angels, we suppress our sensuality and detach it from forbidden pleasures.

This is the magnificent picture of Christian perfection. Happy the one who possesses all these fine virtues, all of them fruits of the Holy Spirit who dwells within him. Such a soul has nothing to fear and will shine in the world as the sun in the heavens.’

Padre Pio

St. Ambrose on Modesty

 

‘Is anything so conducive to lust as with unseemly movements thus to expose in nakedness those parts of the body which either nature has hidden or custom has veiled, to sport with the looks, to turn the neck, to loosen the hair? Fitly was the next step an offense against God. For what modesty can there be?’

‘The face is a witness of the thoughts and is a silent interpreter of the heart. The outward appearance is often a sign of the conscience and the unspoken words of the mind.’

‘Modesty should pervade all that is exterior – our walk, our gestures, and our movements. All outside appearances reveal the condition of our mind; although our passions are hidden, they manifest themselves exteriorly; one easily knows if a man is fickle, haughty, mischievous, or if he is wise, patient, and reserved; the motion of the body is a species of voice which bespeaks all that is passing in the soul. . . Modesty is suitable for all ages and for all classes of persons; for all times and places.’

Purity Excerpts – St. Francis de Sales

‘Be neat, Philothea; let nothing be negligent about you. It is a kind of contempt of those with whom we converse, to frequent their company in uncomely apparel; but, at the same time, avoid all affectation, vanity, curiosity, or levity in your dress. Keep yourself always, as much as possible, on the side of plainness and modesty, which, without doubt, is the greatest ornament of beauty, and the best excuse for the want of it.’

‘We must be very careful in the practice of modesty.’

‘Not only in body but in heart as well, no ornament becomes like humility, modesty and devotion.’

‘Human bodies are like glasses, which cannot come into collision without risk of breaking; or to fruits, which, however fresh and ripe, are damaged by pressure.

Never permit any one to take any manner of foolish liberty with you, since, although there may be no evil intention, the perfectness of purity is injured thereby. Purity has its source in the heart, but it is in the body that its material results take shape, and therefore it may be forfeited both by the exterior senses and by the thoughts and desires of the heart.

All lack of modesty in seeing, hearing, speaking, smelling, or touching, is impurity, especially when the heart takes pleasure therein.

St. Paul says without any hesitation that impurity and uncleanness, or foolish and unseemly talking, are not to be “so much as named” among Christians.

Remember that there are things which blemish perfect purity, without being in themselves downright acts of impurity. Anything which tends to lessen its intense sensitiveness, or to cast the slightest shadow over it, is of this nature; and all evil thoughts or foolish acts of levity or heedlessness are as steps towards the most direct breaches of the law of chastity.

Avoid the society of persons who are wanting in purity, especially if they are bold, as indeed impure people always are.’

Frequent not the company of immodest persons, especially if they be also impudent, as is generally the case; . . . these corrupted souls and infected hearts scarcely speak to any, either of the same or a different sex, without causing them to fall in some degree from purity; they have poison in their eyes and in their breath, like basilisks. On the contrary, keep company with the chaste and virtuous; often meditate upon and read holy things; for the word of God is chaste, and makes those also chaste that delight in it.