Modesty & Pride

I have about a hundred different questions. I took RCIA two years ago, didn’t finish, and now I’m taking it again. It’s going great. I’m praying the rosary and all and I go the Mass every Sunday. My first question is, we’re taught in class that God is everywhere. However, when we visit the chapel, we are told that Jesus’ Presence is specifically in the Tabernacle. Why? That is the only question that doesn’t really bother me that much. I’m sure He’s there.

My next slew of questions is about ego. I’m sure the answers to these questions are in the Bible somewhere, but I’ve not found them yet, so here I will ask them. I am a twenty-one year old girl, conventionally attractive. Although there are worse problems to have, I feel insecure about it, to the point of obsession in fact. I always feel like I’m showing off, even if I’m not trying. But I don’t see a way out of it. If I go to Mass in my favorite sweater with my hair brushed and shiny, I feel like I’m showing off, even if the purpose behind my action of looking nice is to glorify God. It is difficult to help feeling a little proud as I walk inside the church (or is it mere confidence I feel? Am I proud? Is confidence acceptable?). I imagine an alternative, perhaps chopping my hair off, or my “glory,” as the Bible calls it, banishing makeup, even wearing a veil, etc. I think if I did that I would feel even worse, as if I were trying to show people what great sacrifices I am willing to make to please God. I would feel like I am showing off spiritually, like the people in the Bible who pray loudly in public (whom Jesus called hypocrites). I imagine the people reading this thread are judging me now, perhaps thinking that I think that the Mass is about me and my feelings and my point of view. This is the opposite of my intention! I am so obsessed with whether my motive behind the things I do is right that I drive myself crazy.

Which brings me to my next problem. I want desperately to go to the Daily Mass, perhaps several times a week, but I feel if I went even once a week apart from the obligatory Sunday Mass, I would look like I was showing off and being oh so pious and holy and good. I am TRAPPED. Am I being prideful about worrying whether I’m being prideful?!??!?!?

My REASONING behind all these CONFLICTED feelings is that I always think about how Jesus said to pray in private and the reasoning behind that (and also to do your good deeds anonymously, if possible). I like the idea of that very much, keeping it an absolute secret. But the Bible also teaches to never DENY Jesus, so you have to find a happy medium. You don’t want to show off your piousness, but you don’t want to HIDE it either. :shrug: It’s exhausting.

I know I shouldn’t worry so much about these sorts of things, and more about ways I can serve God and others, and I honestly do try to stop thinking about it, but the questions always come back.

I believe you are showing all the right intentions in your post which certainly do not come from pride, rather, a search for humility. No , do not worry about showing off by going to as many Masses as you can. God will see it as showing up, rather than showing off.
As you learn more about the mysterious miracle of the Eucharist, you will understand why the Tabernacle is the center of our worship, outside of Mass, due to the presence of the actual Body, Blood, Soul and divinity of Christ right in the room with you.
There is nothing wrong with a young girl being confident in her appearance, remembering that this does not last and you should enjoy it whilst you have it.
Have fun in your youth and don’t get too caught up with overthinking each of your rightful devotions.

Regarding pride and modesty. Self-obsession is a form of pride. I’d be more concerned about that than your appearance. You’re not alone; I think about myself too much too, as do most people. Self-forgetfulness is learned, in part through prayer, sacramental life, and service to others.

Regarding God’s presence. God is present in different ways:

  1. He is everywhere by his essence, presence, and power. St. Thomas explains: “God is in all things by His power, inasmuch as all things are subject to His power; He is by His presence in all things, as all things are bare and open to His eyes; He is in all things by His essence, inasmuch as He is present to all as the cause of their being.” (S.T. I, Q8, a3)

  2. God is specially present in the flesh by the hypostatic union of the Eternal Word with the sacred humanity of Jesus Christ.

  3. God is specially present in the Holy Eucharist, by the conversion of bread and wine into the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ.

  4. God is specially present in the souls of the just by grace. This goes beyond merely being our Creator and Lord (as he is to all things) to a kind of divine friendship and intimate union.

  5. God is specially present in the Mass: in the priest through whom he offers the sacrifice, in the Scriptures which are his words, and in his people assembled to worship him.

There are probably other ways, too; these are the ones that come to mind.

dress however you want but it must not be revealing,if problem persists, veil
go to daily mass,if you want you can stand in one corner so that noone misunderstands you

Yes, Jesus said that, but he also spent A LOT of time in the temple. Every day in fact. And the apostles did the same later in Acts.

The Mass is considered the highest form of prayer and worship. And crucially, it cannot be prayed in private. You do nothing wrong in attending mass as often as a few times a weel or even every day, if you are there to pray rather than merely to be seen (that was the point Jeus was making).

Ah, to be young again. We need a balanced sense of pride and humility and concern about our appearance. Note that I mean balanced. You were made for the Lord and you should go Him as a bride would to her groom.
I would more likely notice if you came before the Lord in shorts and really immodest tops or blouses which I have seen. Don’t be so critical of yourself…there are plenty enough of those in the world that could learn from you. Praying for you.

This made me laugh! :slight_smile: I definitely identify with how you feel, though. I went through a period of time when I worried a lot about pride and whether I was doing things for the right reasons. Whenever I acted confidently, I would worry that I actually was motivated by pride. I felt like I needed to resist those “temptations” to be confident and be vigilant against pride.

But as time went on, I came to realize that confidence and desire for affirmation from others are natural emotions that are given to us by God. They are not sinful. The sin of pride is a choice to indulge in inflated ideas about yourself or to view yourself as more worthy or better than everyone else. Essentially, pride involves believing a lie about how great you are.

By contrast, humility is a simple acceptance of the truth. The whole truth. Humility is not lying to yourself and believing that you’re worse than everyone else. Humility simply accepts the truth about who you are – the good and the bad. If God has given you gifts and talents, praise him for the gifts and use them for his glory! Humility accepts and enjoys those gifts without losing sight of who you are and your relationship to God and other people. In general, I think it’s best to focus on God and learning to love and follow him, and you will naturally grow in humility along the way. If you attempt to make yourself humble or to eradicate pride from your life, you simply turn in on yourself rather than focusing on God and everyone else.

So in general, I think you can be at peace and give your worries to God. You’re on the right road.

I’m going to answer your questions paragraph by paragraph

Paragraph 1) you wrote “However, when we visit the chapel, we are told that Jesus’ Presence is specifically in the Tabernacle. Why?” God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit" are spiritually present everywhere. But when the Tabernacle candle is lit, it means that Christ is PHYSICALLY present inside the Tabernacle, as that is the place where consecrated Hosts are kept. Those consecrated Hosts are the Real Body and Blood of Christ and are physically there. When the candle is not lit, it means the tabernacle is empty and Christ is not physically present, only spiritually. Make sense?

Paragraph 2) first of all, long hair historically was a sign of modesty, virginity and chastity, so don’t cut your hair. :slight_smile: Here are the important things to keep in mind: are you dressing to be beautiful or sexy? Beauty is a gift from God, so dressing beautifully is not showing off or anything bad. Dressing sexy is to consciously cause impure thoughts in others and is therefore not ok. Sexy is only ok in the privacy of home between husband and wife.

So if your intent is to be beautiful, your ok. :slight_smile:

Also the historic source of the veil was to make ones hair appear longer and therefore became a symbol of modesty. If you wear one out of modesty, then good for you. But if you wear one to purposely say “I’m better than you” than not cool. It’s the same thing regarding praying loud. Christ was calling those who were praying loudly so everyone would see they are praying, but who really didn’t mean it, hypocrites. You see, the Jewish synagogues were often a “place to be seen” in the community. And some Jewish synagogues are still like that today, especially the ones that have high membership dues. Some Christians do it too by volunteering for things because of social reasons and not selfless reasons. This is what Christ was addressing, people who prayed loudly and publicly but didn’t pray privately or even in their hearts… They were all show and no substance.

Paragraph 3) you wrote “would look like I was showing off and being oh so pious and holy and good. I am TRAPPED. Am I being prideful about worrying whether I’m being prideful?”

If you want to attend daily mass, please do so. I go on my lunch break and try to go every day, if I can. The people who attend daily mass would never think you are there in an attempt to be “more holier than thou.”

The only way this could be bad would be if you were bragging about attending daily mass or judging those who do not. Sharing your experience is not bad either, especially if it can bring others closer to Christ.

Paragraph 4) see my comments above regarding the Jews Christ was addressing. Remember Christ also used analogies. If He didn’t want us to go to Mass, he would have told people not to attend the synagogues and the temple, but instead pray at home. But he didn’t say that. He said don’t pray publicly, not don’t pray in public.

Whenever we do something “publicly” we WANT others to take notice. It’s our goal. But when we do something in public, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we want them to notice. For example, if I’m kneeling in front of the altar praying during adoration, I’m “in public.” But that doesn’t mean I want people to take notice of me, that’s not my purpose.

Now on Ash Wednesday, we wear ashes publicly. We do this as a reminder. We also do this as a form of evangelization. But not to show off. Now if someone in the Parish was getting ashes just to say “see I’m holy enough for you to vote for me,” then that person would be missing the point and should not be receiving ashes.

I hope this is helpful.

May The Lord assist you on your Journey of Faith & your Journey Home to the Catholic Church. May He also help you to grow in wisdom and understanding. Amen.

In terms of your specific questions, let me give you some counter examples to demonstrate the difference between what you’re describing (which is not prideful) and a truly prideful, arrogant approach to the same situations:

Physical Attractiveness:
A prideful person would be getting ready to go to church, brushing her hair, putting on her favorite sweater, thinking about how much better she’s going to look than everyone else in church. “Those losers never put any effort into their appearance,” she thinks. “I can hardly stand to be around them.”

Notice, the pride has nothing to do with what you wear or making yourself look nice. It has everything to do with your attitude about other people.

Going to daily mass:
A prideful person thinks “I want people to think I’m serious about my faith, so I’m going to go to daily mass and make sure Father notices me in the front row every day.”

At this point, going to Mass is no longer about worshiping God. It’s just about keeping up appearances.

In all these things, though, the main point is: put your focus on God, and if you have any issues with pride, he will gently help you to see them and work through them.

I totally agree with a augustinus.

allisonmargaret, if your question has been answered, you can pm the moderators to close it.

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