Friday, October 18, 2019

Dressing like a Man for Mass

Wearing appropriate attire to Mass is not only a sign of respect for the House of God but an act of faith in the Real Presence. There is a man at our parish who insists on serving daily Mass in shorts all summer long. It makes me wonder. From The Catholic Gentleman:
In contrast to unmanly excuses, here are some manly reasons why dressing like a man for Mass is important:
The Mass is infinitely more important than any worldly event – A man should wear his very best clothing for every Mass is of infinite value. While cultures around the world vary, a reasonable standard in the U.S. for men’s dress for Mass is a dark suit, collared shirt, a tie and dress shoes (for examples of how men dress for important occasions in the U.S., see presidential portraits, presidential medal awards, Heisman Trophy finalists, wedding attire or even what young men wear to prom, etc.). Every single Mass is infinitely more important than even the most important worldly event, for Jesus Christ Himself is present.
Justice demands that men give their best to Christ – Post-modern men need to become re-acquainted with virtue, especially the cardinal virtue of Justice. The word “virtue” comes from the Latin virtutem, meaning “moral strength, high character, manliness and excellence.” The root word of “virtue” is the Latin, vir, which literally means “man.” Men have always been called to virtue and to be virtuous is considered “manly.” The cardinal virtue of Justice is giving God and one’s fellowman his proper due. Man, in his sinful nature, can never fully give God his due, for Man owes everything to God and has little to give Him except thanksgiving and praise. One concrete way to show thanksgiving to God is to meticulously dress to approach Christ in the Mass (e.g. mirror-shined shoes, a crisply pressed suit, a starched shirt and a carefully knotted tie, etc.). The least that a just man can do when attending Mass is to dress like he is meeting a King.
Christ explicitly demands respectful attire – In Christ’s parable of the Wedding Banquet (Matt 22:1-14), Christ says this:
“But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment; and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”
The broader principle of proper spiritual preparation to approach Christ does not negate Christ’s most basic teaching about respectful dress. Clothing is one aspect of a man’s inner preparation and is also a signal to other men about his reverence of his Lord and King. Paul also warns men to not approach the Eucharist in an unworthy manner to avoid bringing down wrath and judgment of God upon themselves (1 Cor 11:27). (Read more.)

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