Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Fruits of the Holy Spirit-Ninth Hymn of Virtue: Modesty

The twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control and chastity.

Ninth Hymn of Virtue: Modesty

Continuing the series on the fruits of the Holy Spirit we come to the ninth gift: Modesty. When discussing modesty, the first image that comes to mind is one dressing modestly. Again, we must take a deeper look into this gift of grace.

In this particular gift, the Spirit imparts to the soul a gift that allows the person to be modest in external actions, and of course, this would flow into the physical aspect of the person to include modest dress.

Reading the lives of the Saints, we learn that they were humble people who did not want to draw attention to themselves. They lived the Gospel message of ...”Be on guard against performing religious acts for people to see...”(Matthew 6:1). We have to be careful how we conduct ourselves in church. Do we perform religious actions that would draw attention to ourselves and steal the glory and worship due to Our Lord at Mass?

We also have to be careful not to judge people who do draw attention to themselves in church. Only God knows their heart and the purity of their intention. As St. Pio of Pietrelcina used to say when people kept coming to him, “I don't want my reward now!” This was a reflection of the gospel passage where Jesus spoke of the Pharisees who perform these acts so that they will be noticed. “...they are already repaid...” (Matthew 6:2).

St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila) and St. John of the Cross were mortified when they were found in ecstasy by their sisters and brothers. In their teaching on prayer, they exhort us to follow the Lord's command of “When you pray, go to your room, close your door..."(Matthew 6:6).

St. Bernadette is another example of modesty and humility. Learning of the plans people were making to keep her body in Lourdes after her death-she was firmly against it. She said she did not want to take away from Our Lady's presence there and gave instruction to have her body remain in the convent cemetery. Today, one can view her beautifully incorrupt body in the monastery chapel in Nevers, France.

We can ask ourselves :

*Are we modest in our speech or do we brag and draw attention to ourself and our achievements.

*Are we modest in dress, or do we dress suggestively, or otherwise, to get the attention of others.

*Are we modest in our external actions, especially in church? Or do we perform great religious gestures to get the attention of others?

*When given a compliment, do we accept it humbly knowing that all gifts come from God and give him the credit? Or do we discuss how hard we worked to achieve a certain goal?

Let us imitate the Saints in their spiritual modesty. The Saints who went to great lengths to divert attention from themselves even when their holiness of life caused others to flock to them.

Let us ask Our Lady of Sorrows, who stood humbly, in silence, at the foot of the cross, to help us be humble and modest in our actions and dress and to give all honor and glory to God.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds 

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