The world around us is filled with ugliness. To fight this ugliness, we must address the willfully chosen things and change our ways accordingly.
One important way to do this is to change our manner of personal appearance. Everywhere, we see signs of disorder in this field. Individuals exhibit multiple and painful-looking body piercings, strangely colored unkempt hair, tattoos galore and mismatched, torn, and ugly clothing.
This cult to ugliness exploded in the sixties when lax morals gave rise to lax, unconventional and immoral fashions. Behind this trend was a revolutionary rejection of all aspects of Christian civilization. It opened the floodgate of the disordered passions that spread like wildfire all over the world in a short amount of time.
People abandoned the civilized norms of decorum that emphasized the dignity of individuals as they present themselves to society. Being pleasing to others, not comfort, was the main concern.
Today, the overwhelming majority of Americans regularly wear an official uniform consisting of a t-shirt, blue jeans (ripped or otherwise) and sneakers. For more formal events, a jacket might be worn over the T-shirt accompanied by untorn jeans. In warm weather, many replace blue jeans with shorts, even at Mass.
In addition to the clothing, there are strange hairstyles in unappealing colors, sometimes of various combinations. Piercings include the face, ears, lips, tongue and other places. The final defacement consists of tattoos, found from head to toe, with a variety of messages.
Jewelry has become pagan, brutal and tribal. Some contemporary jewelry comes in strange shapes, grossly large and disproportionate sizes, and using inferior materials.
All that matters is to reject order and beauty, whatever the cost. What started in the sixties as a revolutionary rebellion against established norms has become a tsunami of the ugly, distasteful and slovenly.
This almost universal rejection of beauty has a degrading effect on the Church, family, institutions and society. Everything moves towards ugliness, and this influence filters down to the average person. Such individuals may not go to the extremes, but will adhere to some form of ugliness or bad taste in grooming.
The Church and Christian Civilization understood beauty to be the splendor of the truth. To the degree that something corresponds to its nature and is pleasing to the senses, it has beauty.
Thus, people understood the importance of dressing appropriately, following the nature, dignity, jobs or age of the person. People who dress slovenly, immorally or with ripped or dirty clothing do not live up to this standard. They do not respect the needs of others to experience the beauty around them.
People once understood that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and should be adorned with this in mind. We could compare how we dress with how a beautiful tabernacle is clothed. The tabernacle veil is beautiful and made of high-quality materials to reflect He who is inside it.
When we adorn ourselves, keeping in mind that we are temples of the Holy Ghost, we are telling others that we are caring for our bodies and souls as vessels of grace. It elevates and edifies our neighbor who will naturally admire.
Immodest clothing degrades the person and provides grave temptations to others. Above all, it gravely offends God. It would be like putting a course and revealing burlap over a tabernacle.
Immodesty is a manifestation of pride, which is the root of all vice. People are self-centered without regard for their neighbors. They also call attention to themselves by their delight in the shock value of outlandish hairstyles, make-up, clothing and behavior.
As with all revolutions, there is tremendous pressure to participate in the latest fashions. Concerned parents often seem paralyzed to action because they no longer know how to say “no.”
The solution lies in the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We can help Our Lady achieve her triumph by choosing and displaying authentic Catholic beauty instead of ugliness.
Indeed, ugliness attracts sin and evil. Authentic beauty attracts goodness and virtue. By exhibiting and promoting beauty, souls can be attracted to Our Lord, Who is the source and the fullness of beauty.
Thus, we should dress in a dignified and modest manner. We should wear appropriate jewelry and hairstyles. We must act as a temple of the Holy Spirit by carrying the cross of modesty, despite the mockery of others.
Dressing beautifully and modestly elicited positive comments from others. If a man wears a suit and tie in public, or a woman wears a modest and beautiful dress, they will commonly receive favorable comments from others. This is a form of apostolate.
When we have the courage to do what is right, Our Lady and her angels will be with us, giving us courage and consolation. Our good choices will also have an impact on others who may consider improving their choices.
This battle is a kind of spiritual warfare where everything depends upon the fidelity of a few. Sometimes, advances were made inches at a time until victory was achieved. With God’s grace, we can also help establish the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary by influencing those around us in our daily lives.
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