We all know the Gospel where Jesus tells us not to worry about what we wear. Does anyone know of any writings that talk about it with greater theological depth?
I was sorting through my clothes and have been feeling guilty that I have expensive clothes. Not insanely expensive but they aren’t exactly from the Walmart racks. I’ve been feeling guilty about it.
But I did buy them thinking that they’d help me in life. For one thing, the nicer your clothes, the more they can help with you succeeding. For another, the nicer you feel your clothes are, the more it will help your mentality. There was a study that divided people into two groups. Each group was given identical white coats. One group was told they are painter’s coats and the other was told they’re doctors’ coats. Each group was given identical tasks, and the group that was told it had been given doctors’ coats did a better job than the group with the painter’s clothes. So, your self-perception with your clothes can help you do a good job. It suggests that if your heart is in the right place and you’re doing God’s work, it’s okay to have moderately nice clothes.
Then again, we have saints who had gotten successful wearing rags. John the Baptist wore coarse clothes. John Paul II had worn-out shoes and gave away the nicer clothes he was given. Mother Teresa’s habit costs less than American shoelaces. However, I read that John XXIII was rather fussy when it came to his clothes. I’m guessing so was Pius IX.
And what about other things that might be a rather luxurious? Playing golf is expensive, yet I know Bishops who play. Being a wine connoisseur sounds costly too, yet the very holy Pius XIII was one. Some might grumble that these expensive things should be avoided and money should all just go to the poor. Others might say that you’re welcome to use what God blessed you with.
What if you’re born really good looking? Can one cultivate one’s looks? I’m talking about going so far as to do things like taking a lot of care after one’s skin (more than the average person), using special creams, getting hair removal, etc. Others around you might consider you vain. Yet you might say, Hey, I was blessed with these looks and I want to maintain it,
It’s all a matter of interpretation, I suppose. Can anyone suggest any writings that address this?