Bishop Nickless, “We Must Not Settle
for the Vice of Immodesty as the Norm”
Bishop R. Walker Nickless, Sioux City – What is within our hearts is also shown by our exterior actions and behavior. Reverence also must have an exterior effect, and modesty is the virtue that encompasses this. At the practical level, how we dress and how well we observe the Eucharistic fast – and chewing gum just before or during Mass is certainly against the intention of this fast – matter very much. Such things not only express the quality of our reverence and devotion, but also form interior life, both for us and for those who see our example.
Three Ways We Can be Immodest
In many ways, we live in an immodest society, and the virtue of modesty today is held in very low regard. We are immodest in our speech, and often we look for undue praise when we boast of our achievements and flatter our desires. We are immodest in our eating, most of us eat too much and much of what we eat is unhealthy. 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.
May every good gift of the Holy Spirit be treasured in your hearts! Please continue to pray for me and for all our priests, just as I keep all of you, and the needs of our whole Diocese, in my prayers.
Your brother in Christ,
Most Reverend R. Walker Nickless
Bishop of Sioux City