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Alright ladies, breathe deep before reading this post, it may hit a few nerves.

Beauty and the spiritual life are closely connected.

“Of course,” you may be saying, “because God is beautiful and we’re all created beautiful. So of course, you’re not telling us anything new.”

Yes, I am talking interior beauty and awe and wonder of God’s beauty, but I’m also talking exterior beauty and fashion. Yes, exterior beauty and fashion. Now before I lose you completely, hear me out.

We’re not called to be vain or seek false or negative attention, and I’m not advocating for an obsession of the exterior over the interior. But I am saying that what you wear and how you carry yourself says something about who you are.

Vivana Garcia at Love and Fidelity Network says this about fashion, beauty, and the interior life.

Our society reacts to visual stimulus on a constant basis. One’s appearance speaks volumes about what lies beneath: people, whether or not intentionally, emit signs that create in others a perception of who they are.

Clothes and personal appearance are often our first sign of a person’s personality.

In fact, men have been known to pride themselves in pin-pointing exactly what kind of woman one is and don’t bother to wonder whether they could be wrong.  The conclusions they draw, however, are sometimes encouraged by how the woman in question carries herself and what she wears.  Clothing should not place one within a certain category, but often this is what happens. In fact, dressing one way while acting in another only manages to confuse.[1] Aesthetic expressions of character that lie so apparently on the surface should reflect what lies within.

And so, if your interior is turned toward God, shouldn’t what’s on the surface captivate as well?

The deeper I have gotten in the spiritual life the more this has made sense to me. There is something about the transcendent that has made me want to reveal that mystery to all I encounter.

Since the start of the sexual revolution, there has no longer been a sense of the value of the mysterious. Today, everything is exposed, plastered across YouTube, Facebook, countless magazines and television shows. Annually we are treated to countless attempts by entertainers at revealing more, yet as aesthetic philosopher Roger Scruton states, “Sometimes the intention is to shock us, but what is shocking the first time around is boring and vacuous when repeated.”

There is a privilege to being a woman, as philosopher Alice von Hildebrand writes, one that is accompanied by a certain mystery that encompasses natural noble traits; traits of vulnerability, strength, tenderness and dignity, upon many others.  We should look to portray these qualities in what we choose to wear and how we conduct ourselves.

I’ve had numerous guys tell me that modesty is alluring and attractive. The fact that you’re not bearing all is interesting and alluring to them, and makes them want to know more about you, not your body but you.

But beauty must be a part of that modesty. As Viviana said above, we live in a visually driven society, and so, looking stylish while dressing modestly is going to catch quite a few eyes.

You’re beautiful interiorly, and that beauty is a revelation of God. Don’t you want to show that off (with humility of course)?

Looking stylish, wearing bright colors and fun jewelry, doing your hair, or simply dressing in a way that displays your best interior traits, it all says something about who you are and how you see yourself. And bonus points, it’s a way of integrating your faith life into your daily life without anyone knowing.

Of course, when conducting ourselves this way, we must always keep in mind these thoughts from Dr. Pia De Solemni, esteemed theologian:

“Who am I dressing for?  What do I want to project?”  Without modesty, the imagination of onlookers will interpret what it will; with it in place, women will refine the affectivity of others. In so doing, she will allow for society to gain an elevated view of the true worth and dignity of a woman. And that will be truly beautiful.

(This post has been read 2,455 times)

5 Comments

  1. Michelle-176368 February 28, 2011

    Attending a University like Franciscan, tends to prompt topics such as this is conversation A LOT. Being from California, always leaves one to wonder how a person is supposed to dress modest, stylish, and appear “innocent” as is the desire of many gentlemen who attend the university. This article was a good affirmation that only the first two things on my list (if practiced, as mentioned to reveal the dignity and beauty of a women) are important rules of thumb in thinking about ones presentation. I’ve got to say this article speaks a lot to the truth about the universal call of Christians to not be “of” the world, with an understanding of how to be “in” it.

  2. Marie-575233 March 2, 2011

    I like this story.Words to live by.I also find that modesty is alluring.It attracts men of quality.I subscribe to it.Kudos to the writer.

  3. Lucia-551179 March 5, 2011

    Is there a version of this for men? If you could see what I see in the subway most days!

  4. Sherrill-anne-13557 March 8, 2011

    Thumbs up.
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Christine B. March 18, 2011

    Nice article. I’m sometimes frustrated by the fact that modesty proponents sometimes use the phrase “leave something to the imagination” or something similar. This just perpetuates the idea that we’re valued for our bodies, and that men will still “fantasize” about us. Thus I think the language we use about modesty needs to point more directly to the fact that we as women want to be taken seriously and valued for our intellects and personalities rather than just our bodies.

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