Dr. Van Hildebrand points out to us that anything that is precious, mysterious or sacred is hidden from view. It is veiled. We find diamonds deep within the ground, covered and protected. We find pearls at the bottom of the ocean, covered and protected by a beautiful shell. We mine for gold deep within the earth covered with layers and layers of rock.
Your body is sacred, far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and it should be covered and protected too. In the Old Testament Temple, the Holy of Holies was covered with a veil. In the Catholic Church, the Tabernacle is traditionally covered and veiled, as is the Ciborium which holds the Blessed Sacrament. The canopy that is carried over the Blessed Sacrament in procession covers the Holy of Holies. All these veilings show respect and reverence for mystery and sacredness.
Women, by their physical nature, are vessels of life. Every woman, due to her God-given femininity, has a certain mystery and sacredness because of her awe-inspiring privilege in cooperating with man and God in the creation of life. God reaches down and places a soul into that newly conceived child within the woman’s body. During her pregnancy, a mother will carry within her body two souls, hers and that of her child’s. The relationship, between God and the woman who carries within her this new human being, is mysterious, glorious and deserving of reverence.
At a Defend the Faith Conference in Steubenville, Ohio, years ago, one of the speakers planted the seed in my head and made modesty make sense to me. They said something like, “Your womb is where God works the miracle of life. COVER IT. It is not something that should be seen.” Now, as with the article I quoted from above, it’s possible to get psycho-extreme. (I thought at the time, before I had a daughter.) And the rest of the article was a bit, well, extreme.
But to think of myself as a “vessel of life,” to consider that all women have been touched by God (“God reaches down”), to ponder “the relationship between God and the woman” – these make the case for modesty in a way that spells it out for me. (Not that I need a lot of convincing, mind you…you’ve seen Moms for Modesty on my site for a while.)
But then how do we encourage modesty in men, particularly in the summer ? Lots of guys think nothing of jogging shirtless, not to mention swimming in near nudity. (My solution for the latter is simple, in that I am so nearsighted that, when I take off my glasses to go in the water, the guys are too blurry to be a temptation !)
The thing with modesty…I think maybe it sometimes is an opinion…and somehow it is also related to the issue of concupiscience too (I never spell that right!)