2000, Articles, Raiati

Decency in Church / 04.06.2000

There is decency in the way men and women dress whether in Church or outside the Church. However, the meeting of the holy community that aims to share the divine sacraments requires a more precise decency because of the goal that we gather for. God’s presence is manifested in the Church through his Word and the sacraments and the Holy Spirit that settles in the faithful during the Divine Liturgy. We build each other and every one of us leads the other to Christ; He is the center of attention of eyes and hearts so that no one of us gets distracted by the other and no one hinders the prayer of the other but helps him maintain the chastity of his sight. We should all obscure ourselves, as much as we can, from the eyes of the brothers in order to be seen only from God.

Yes, we are all within the range of decency. However, according to human nature, this fits women in the first place. If our attraction is towards Christ, this means that none of us should try to attract believers to him except through the piety of his movement and through his silence and reverence. In this reverence the body disappears. Coming from this point, makeup, which is an exaggeration in beautifying, is something undesirable because it drives us away from the only intended beauty, I mean the beauty of Jesus. In the same sense there are the sumptuous expensive clothes that are exposed for show off; and these harm the poor among us. Also there is the noise of shoes when we enter and the perfumes that have no place in a meeting we attended to become spiritually “Christ’s beautiful scent”.

In addition to our commitment to the chastity of sight, humanity focused historically on the fact that decency is required in particular from women. A woman knows her charms. Therefore, I will not talk about what is not proper to expose in Church. Women are more eloquent than me in this domain. And if she wanted to talk seriously, neither summer nor winter would be excuses. God wants from her a way for disappearance. Apostle Paul has talked about this in his first epistle to the Corinthians and said: “Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?” (11: 13). Our women had literarily obeyed the apostle for centuries. However, if we went beyond words into the intention, the general idea that stays from Paul’s words is the refusal of the obvious uncovering or the harmful tightening. And women know what is harmful.

We live in the time of sin and we haven’t reached the kingdom yet. In the kingdom, there are no earthly bodies but spiritual bodies that are glorified and statures of light.

As long as we are in flesh and blood, we turn a blind eye and we don’t exploit through our eyes the bodies of the other; also the other shouldn’t expose his body for the pleasure of insatiable eyes.

Everything that violates this is an altercation. I don’t think that a sincere woman, if she was warned, claims that she doesn’t know that. I also don’t believe that a believer would use the ecclesiastic community to seduce. In the recent past, men used to stand in a place and women in another one. Churches had a suite for women. The empress and her maids used to stand up there and not next to the emperor. It seems that the modern mind doesn’t accept this separation. However, I see that this was the trend of the Church. Paul speaks in the first epistle to the Corinthians about the isolation of the man from the woman if he wanted to be devoted for “fasting and praying”. The relationship in the praying Church is neither between man and woman nor between man and man or woman and woman. It is the relationship of every soul with Christ. Mixing is not unity. The peak of harmful mixing is the distraction of the man by the women and of the woman by the man because if they did so, both of them wouldn’t be focusing their sight on Christ.

Translated by Mark Najjar

Original Text: “الحشمة في الكنيسة” –Raiati 23- 04.06.2000

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