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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Dressing for Holy Mass...

Recently an acquaintance of mine said this:

I think putting an effort into how we dress for Mass is important, because we will be in the presence of God. I almost always try my hardest to try and find something nice to wear, and even though I don't have a closet full of Sunday dresses, I think God knows my heart's intent and my financial situation, and is grateful that I try to look better for Mass than I do for school, cleaning, hanging out, etc. I do get a little upset when I see girls in Mass with short shorts and t-shirts on. Just last Saturday, a girl in front of me was wearing them, and her shirt was tied up in the back so you could just see her lower back. I told her I was going to pull it down to cover it, and I did. There's a difference between dressing immodest and dressing informal. Sometimes, I have to dress informally because I don't have a dress lying around I can wear, but I'll still clean up and look modest. I think the big question here is, how do we implement modest dress in Mass? Have ushers at the doors to verify whether or not someone is dressed suitably for Mass? In that case, it would be like the pharisees kujo alluded to. I also see where he's coming from, because simply saying that people dressed a certain way should not go to Mass and whatnot is a covert reflection on how oneself dresses for Mass, portraying a "pharisee attitude."
My respsonse:
No, but I shouldn't go to Mass expecting to see what you described. And I do, well, I did, until I started assisting at a Traditional Latin Mass full time. Now the most immodest thing I will see is a golf shirt on a man and a pair of slacks on a woman, occasionally.

While I understand that not everyone has the wherewithal to have a closet full of Sunday best, the idea is that you do have a Sunday best, so that you can pull it out and wear it on Sunday. I own about 7 suits. That was not always the case. I built that up over time, due to the industry I'm in as well as the desire to look good as well as portray a more formal sense of attire for certain occasions, including Holy Mass. I get picked on about it from my brother is pretty relentless, but then again, he's a lapse Catholic....and often times, I'm in black slacks and a either a button down or a soft collared shirt, because until recently I would wear a cassock most weekends. But nobody knew how I was dressed under the cassock. In the summer, I would often have shorts on, but I can guarantee you that I had dress socks and black shoes on, so that nobody would  know any differently. If I were not in cassock, I would be in collared shirt and slacks or sometimes in a suitcoat and tie, as I said....

Realistically, it must be a grass roots movement and we cannot be afraid to say something. If we are going to stand up for our Catholic Culture, then we have to stand up for our Catholic Culture. Part of that culture is dressing appropriately. Look at the words of Bishop a parting note, I will add this...all through college, I had a very good friend, who used to wear the same outfit to Mass every single Sunday. Why? Because as she said, those were her "Sunday goin' to church clothes"...she wasn't rich, but went to a school where rich kids went. She wasn't being Pharisaical, but I can guarantee you, she had the proper understanding of the importance of looking her best for the King of the Universe, even when most of the rest of her peers were in jeans and t-shirts...

All we have to do as Catholics is make the effort. It isn't hard. But it is a commitment. And that commitment is a good one, because it is done for the Greater Glory of God and not to fit in or to be trendy or to facilitate ease of the moment.
The words of Bishop R. Walker Nickless:
We can be immodest in our dress,trying to be fashionable and trendy. We sometimes wear clothes that are dirty or too revealing and immodest even to Mass. Our casual daily summer attire is not appropriate for this great celebration of our faith. Coming to Mass should always be special and we need to dress appropriately for this special time of worship.In our reverence for Christ our Lord,and in our respect for one another,we must not settle for the vice of immodesty as the norm. The virtues of humility and modesty are gifts of the Holy Spirit,part of what we celebrate this Sunday on the Solemnity of Pentecost. Let us be grateful for these gifts and all the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are rich blessings;let us use them always for the greater honor and glory of God.

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