Most Catholics are aware of Saint Nicholas and the stories of his charity and love of helping those in need. Today, in honor of his feast day, I would like to recount a little-known story of St. Nicholas.
The Council of Nicea. Photo by Jjenson.
As some of you may know, Nicholas was present at the First Council of Nicea (365 A.D.). At that time, many bishops were divided concerning the arguments of Arius, a priest who promulgated the idea that Christ is inferior to God the Father. Thus, Constantine, the current Holy Roman Emperor, called for the council to which around 300 bishops attended.
During this ecumenical council, Nicholas became very agitated. He was very angry at Arius for attacking God with his erred beliefs. As Arius was speaking and denying the fact that Jesus had a beginning, Nicholas became so full of righteous anger towards the blaspheming heretic that he walked across the room and slapped Arius in the face!
Of course, this caused quite a tumult among those at the council. Constantine, who was presiding over it, decided not to get involved (which was unusual at the time since it was against the law to physically assault anyone in the presence of the emperor). Instead, Constantine told the bishops they would have to handle the situation.
No doubt quite a few bishops were on Arius’s side and were eager to get rid of such a strong and faithful person as Nicholas. So, the bishops stripped Nicholas of his office of bishop, taking away the symbols of his episcopal honors: his copy of the Gospels and his pallium (a vestment worn by bishops). They also had him chained and imprisoned.
Nicholas was ashamed, but was not sorry for standing up for Christ. In the middle of the night while the Nicholas was praying, Jesus and Mary appeared to the him. Jesus asked, “Why are you in jail?” St. Nicholas replied, “Because of my love for You.” Our Lord gave the bishop his book of the Gospels and Mary gave him his pallium. Thus restored to his office of bishop and freed from his chains, St. Nicholas spent the rest of his night in prison studying the Gospels.
The next morning, upon seeing Nicholas unchained and kneeling in prayer with his symbols of episcopal office restored, the jailer was astounded. When the other bishops heard that Jesus and Mary had appeared to the saintly bishop and had defended him, they restored Nicholas to his office of bishop completely.
With Nicholas’s help, the Council of Nicea was completed, with the truth of the equality of the Persons of the Trinity reigning. Every Sunday, Catholics in every part of the world recite the Nicean Creed which St. Nicholas more than likely helped to compose.
Saint Nicholas, give us the strength to defend God like you did! Saint Nicholas, pray for us!
A new dance fad has exploded within the world of youth. In case you are unaware of what I am talking about, I will elaborate. The dance move I am referring to is known as the “floss”. It was invented by a 16-year-old who posted a video of himself demonstrating the dance on his social media. Basically, the dancer repeatedly swings his arms with clenched fists from the back of the body to the front while swinging the hips to the opposite sides. (source)
Sounds harmless? Take a second to think about it. In this dance move, the dancer briskly sways his hips from side to side. This is easily very provocative. Flouncing a certain part of your body naturally draws attention to that part of your body. For instance, when you wave, people notice your arm. When you nod, people look at your head and, even inadvertently, note aspects of your face. If you move your hips in such a described way, people will look at that part of your body. And this part of your body should not be accentuated.
When this part of your body is swung back and forth, people will, albeit sometimes unknowingly, think that the dancer is “showing off” that body part. This is a big red flag! Purity calls for the covering of certain parts of the body and respecting their nature. In addition, flouncing such parts of the body can easily cause other people to commit the sin of impure thoughts.
I know the majority of children (as well as many adults) are participating in this worldwide dance trend. I would like to point out that, as Catholics, we should be living in the world but not of it. Even if it seems like everyone else is doing something, if it is simply not right, we should at all costs avoid it. God tells us not to conform ourselves to this world. He wants us to follow Him, Whose laws are good and true.
Note: My sister recently wrote this on her blog, starlitsea.wordpress.com, and I enjoyed reading it so much I want to share it here.
Howdy, stranger! Welcome to the South! Come on out on the porch, get yourself a sweet tea, and I’ll tell you some things about livin’ down here while we wait for the fried chicken to cook.
We Love Our History
A lot of folks would love for you to believe that Southerners used to be evil, greedy slave owners. Yes, there were Southern slave owners, but there were also Northern ones. As a matter of fact, the first state to legalize slavery was Massachusetts, and many Northerners considered their slaves to be like cattle and worked them to death. The terrible evil of slavery was not exclusive to the South; both it and the North had a hand in it. Also, the Civil War was not about setting the slaves free. Abraham Lincoln himself said: “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists.” It was about states’ rights. The Northern congressmen wanted heavy taxes which would greatly benefit the North, but the South declared these laws unfair. Southerners didn’t want to bear the tariff burden so Northern congressmen could fill their pockets with money. The South agreed that some taxes were necessary in order to sustain the government. However, so that no state would be overtaxed, they suggested that it be localized. When the government told the South to “tell its story walking,” states started to secede. Southerners weren’t going to stand for another form of “taxation without representation.” Thus began the War for Southern Independence against “…a Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets, and in which strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love and kindness…,” said Robert E. Lee. That type of Union, Lee stated, “has no charm for me.”
A couple other interesting facts to note is that the Civil War did not stop Northerners from importing and selling slaves. Even after the North fired on Fort Sumter, New England slave traders were bringing in their slave shipments to make money. Also, secession is not illegal. The Tenth Amendment states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” The United State’s founders didn’t want Americans to get trapped by tyrannical government. If they needed to escape, they could.
The Confederate Flag
Southerners are not ashamed of the Confederate flag. We do not consider it a symbol of violence and hate. It represents a part of our history when we fought for freedom, and it brings to mind the fallen Johnny Rebs. The bonny blue flag that bears the single star was hoisted high by peace-loving folk, not cruel, bloodthirsty brutes. We are not ashamed that we fought for our liberty; we are a proud people and treat the Rebel flag with respect.
Our Own Dialect
Southerners have a slow, drawn-out drawl which can vary depending on what state you’re in. There are, however, a few words and sayings that all Southerners use almost daily when speaking.
The plural of you is y’all. I use this word every day without even thinking about it. “Y’all come over to our house.” “Do y’all like pickles?” “Y’all come back here!”
When Southerners speak, they leave the “g” off of words ending in “ing.” Fishing is fishin’; walking becomes walkin’.
“Bless your heart” can have several meanings. It can be used as a sympathetic term or as a polite way of saying you’ve been stupid. “She had to have surgery? Bless her heart!” “You walked into that mud puddle? Bless your heart.”
Despite what your teachers have told you, ain’t is a word in the South.
Over yonder: a short distance.
A fair piece: a fairly far distance.
Might could means just what it says. “He might could go.”
“I’ll be theredirectly“: I’ll be there soon.
“Where’re your people from?” The questioner wants to know from what specific town, city, or county your relatives are from.
“Madder than a wet hen.” Have you ever seen a wet hen? They are terribly angry!
Hush your mouth: shut up.
“I Reckon“: I suppose
“Fixin’ to“: going to. “I’m fixin’ to leave.”
Yella: yellow. “There’s a yella flower.”
When most Southerners say “Coke,” they do not mean the Coca-Cola soft drink. Coke means any and all soft drinks.
TIP: If you’re a Northerner visiting the South and want to blend in, don’t use those Yankee phrases such as “Do you want to go with?”, “Ayuh (to mean yes)”, “soda pop,” etc. These are foreign words to a true Southerner and will immediately tell them that you aren’t from around these parts. And please don’t say the full “ing” at the end of words or talk through your nose. Drag your words out; take your time; and use the above listed Southern phrases and words. Even with your best try, however, folks will probably guess that you aren’t from the South, but they’ll “bless your heart” for your efforts.
Southern Hospitality and Religion
If you’ve been to the South, you’ve probably noticed that folks are pretty friendly – smiling, waving as they drive by, and making small talk with strangers while at the store. That’s what’s called Southern hospitality. Southern people aren’t strange or stupid; we see the good in everybody and show it in our friendliness.
Down South, we value manners. Many men still offer ladies their seats as well as open doors for them like true Southern gentlemen. Many Southern children are still taught to say “no, ma’am” and “yes, sir” to their elders. That “Southern genteelity” that you’ve heard about is still very much alive.
The South has been dubbed the Bible Belt for good reasons: it’s full of churches, and the people aren’t afraid to talk about God. Most are religious and not a bit ashamed of the fact. Also, don’t be surprised if someone asks you if you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. And, if you ever sneeze in a populated area, expect at least five people to say, “God bless you.”
I have found that Northerners do not have some of the foods we Southerners do. Down South, we love our
Biscuits and gravy
Fried okra and grits
Catfish and hushpuppies
Chitlins (boiled pig intestines; yeah, I know, that does sound disgusting! 😀 )
As for drinks, we love us a glass of iced tea. Be aware that some Southerners pronounce this “iced tay.”
We’re Proud of our Relations
Southerners love to talk about Uncle So-and-So, Cousin Such-and-Such, and trace our lineages back to famous people in history. Don’t be surprised if someone from the South informs you of his relations with pride. Let me just go ahead and state mine while we’re at it: I’m related to Rebecca Boone and Buffalo Bill. 🙂
Have a Seat; There’s No Hurry
Southerners are laid back and easy going. We love to sit on our porch swings, sip iced tea, pick our guitars, and listen to the crickets and tree frogs as the sun sets.
The South is known for its country, bluegrass, and gospel music, whose styles have been passed down for generations. Country songs often have lyrics about front porch swings, fried chicken, cowboy hats, and even sweet tea. I myself am the proud player of the banjo and play in a small bluegrass band with my siblings consisting of guitar, banjo, and fiddle, and my brother is working on learning mandolin. The South’s traditional music is an important part of its culture and something every Southerner loves to hear.
Fun Fact: Many people ask what is the difference between a violin and a fiddle. Well, a violin has STRINGS and a fiddle has STRANGS.
80 Degrees Ain’t Nothin’
Southern summers are hot, reaching up to 100+ degrees. We’re used to sweating, though, and can handle it much better than the cold. Put a Southerner in a Northern winter and you’ll never hear the end of complaints. We love our summers sunny and our winters mild.
We’re All Cowboys at Heart
In the Southern country, many people own farm animals. Many own chickens, and don’t be surprised if you see a pig wallowing in someone’s backyard. Even some Southern city dwellers still live as good ol’ country boys and gals with cowboy hats and boots.
Southerners love their rights and aren’t afraid to say so. Many keep guns for self protection and hunting and are proponents of gun rights. We love God and family, independence and freedom, history and music, barbecue and sweet tea. We’ve got genteel manners and Southern pride, and to quote the song “Thank God I’m a Country Boy”:
Well, I wouldn’t trade my life for diamonds and jewels, I never was one of them money hungry fools. I’d rather have my fiddle and my farmin’ tools. Thank God I’m a country boy!
If you’d like to learn more about the South, I recommend these books:
To begin with, I want to let you know that I am a college student. I was homeschooled, so I did not have the type of group projects you have in college. Group projects in the secular college I attend were a whole different experience to me. And I can’t say I enjoyed them.
Most of the time, I did more than my share of the work. I really wanted a good grade, so I did all the work needed to get it. Since my groups were graded as a whole, I made sure that every component was completed. The members were usually slacking in ambition, industry, or responsibility, making me the leader even though I am more of a quiet and not an outgoing person.
But why do college students need to learn to work together?
I know schools have children participate in group projects similar to the ones I experience in college (and I am not an advocate for these). If you think about it, children naturally learn to work together in many situations such as sports, simple games children initiate together, and even just playing. If you are a college student (and, thus, of a supposedly mature age) the whole world is in trouble if you cannot work with other people.
Think about it: every day you collaborate with others, knowingly or not. You might text friends to see what time to get together (deciding together). You might do the dishes with your parents or siblings (working together). And you might simply pause in front a doorway and notice someone has done the same on the other side of it. Together you agree who goes through the door way first (collaborative agreement). So, you see, a young adult does not need to be taught to work with others. It really just comes natural.
But if there is one thing college professors love it is requiring students to complete group projects. Why? First of all, it makes the professors’ jobs easier. They only have to grade a quarter or so of projects or presentations they would otherwise have to grade if each student worked individually. Also, it might make some professors feel good in that they are “teaching” students to work together or helping the students not have too much work in class, the poor dears (i.e. the slackers).
The above reason does not bother me as much as the main reason students are required to do group projects. This reason is subtle to some, including, I am sure, many professors who are concerned with the reason from the above paragraph. What I am talking about is teaching students to group think. Group think requires no individual expression. In addition, it advances no reward for an individual’s hard work.
In group think, there is too much reliance on the other group members. If one person fails, you all fail, no matter how much work you put in or how much you know about the subject you are presenting on. All that matters is that you worked together, because “it’ll be like this in the real world.”
No. Group projects in the real world really won’t be like the ones in college. If one group member is slacking, then you can always complain to the manager (or whoever is in charge). This wouldn’t really be tattling because if the slacker doesn’t complete his work, then the manager won’t get the desired project completed. In addition, at a job you are motivated to complete the project because you can see that it is reasonable (you are getting paid to do this) and is something your company needs. In a college group project, everyone hates it and is just doing it to get a good grade. No one is attached to the class and no one yearns to please the professor because maybe that’ll mean you’ll get promoted.
Responsibility. Individuality. These are what college group projects are lacking. Instead, these group projects promote sameness and uniformity. Which seems better to you?
Makeup enhances a woman’s natural beauty. It is no sin to want to look nice. Just like we don’t wear a gunny sack but instead wear attractive clothing, so too we can wear makeup to look attractive. We use makeup to cover blemishes, but we also use it to attract people to our faces, in particular to our smile and personality, and not to other parts of the body.
We are made in the image and likenesses of God. We should be proud of this. By using makeup we can emphasize our God-given beauty and attract others to God through the dignity we show.
As with all things, we should maintain a proper balance. We should definitely be cautious not to go overboard when wearing makeup; we CAN wear too much. It is also not a good idea to be consumed with looking perfect all the time. If we panic every time we forget to put on mascara, then we are probably going a little too far. Makeup should not lead us to vanity. Since we ladies are the more beautiful sex, our makeup should be kept in check so we do not get conceited.
In case you are wondering, I started wearing a little bit of makeup when I was 17. My “basic” makeup consists of concealer and blush. Sometimes I will wear some lipstick, eye shadow and mascara. I try to keep the above mindset and do my best to maintain a good balance.
In conclusion, I am by no means telling the non-makeup-wearing girls to start wearing makeup or else they will look like slobs. I am sure you all look beautiful without makeup. I am just explaining why some of us choose to wear makeup and what the proper mindset should be when we choose to do so. What do you think? Do you agree with what I said or do you hold different views? Please share your thoughts and opinions below in the comment box! I would love to know what you think!
Before I begin, I just want to say that these are my personal standards. These are what I feel modest in. I am certainly not condemning anyone who does not follow my standards. I am merely putting this out for others to read. Hopefully you will gain some inspiration to just start thinking about what you wear and also to find some support for dressing modestly.
First of all, I mostly wear skirts, as I have explained in a previous post. My skirts all fall below the knee. I absolutely would not feel comfortable wearing a skirt or dress above the knee. I feel like that is showing too much of myself. In addition, I do not wear excessively tight skirts.
I will wear pants occasionally. When I do wear pants they must always fit loosely. In addition, I like to wear a long shirt over them.
Regarding tops, I will not wear sleeveless (except under a sweater!) but I am perfectly fine wearing short sleeves. I will not wear a shirt that has any possibility of showing cleavage. Honestly, I prefer not to wear shirts that are more than an inch or two below the pit of the neck. In addition, I do not wear shirts that dip down into my back.
My shirts are not bulky or frumpy but look nice and conforming. However, I will never wear a shirt that is excessively tight around the chest. Also, my shirts must reach below the waistline of my skirts.
These are the basics. If you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to use the comment box below. I love getting comments! 🙂
As devout Catholics, we have the ULTIMATE REBELLION!
I hear about and see kids in school, students in college, and even adults trying to stand out. They attempt to do this by dyeing their hair, wearing outrageous clothing, tattooing their body, etc. What is ironic is that so many other people are doing this. This method of rebelling just does not work as well as people hope.
Dress modestly. People will notice. I promise. Seriously, do you ever really see a woman consistently wearing skirts most if not all of the time while still looking attractive? Besides in my small circle of friends and family, I certainly do not. This is an easy way to rebel against the norm while making others take a second look at their own way of dress.
Stick to your religious values. Most people will just let a hint (or more) of immorality slide. If you want to rebel, stand up for what you believe in. People will either act like you are a prude or respect you. Accept either response as a compliment.
Homeschool…this is pretty obvious as a distinct and rebellious (and praiseworthy!) practice.
Be open to life. So few people are open to life nowadays. Most want their 1.5 children (“a boy for you, a girl for me, heaven help us if we have three”) and no more so the children do not get in the way of the parents’ worldly pleasure. It doesn’t help that most priests do not come out and just tell them that contraception (and abortion–but they seem more open to discussing that) is wrong and should always be avoided.
Don’t be wishy-washy. Another way to say this is don’t be a milk-toast Catholic. What I mean is don’t be purposefully naive. Don’t be afraid to call the kettle black. This does not mean gossiping. This essentially is not allowing yourself to be or appear to be deluded concerning things that are just not right. Don’t consider all attitudes, convictions, and actions as acceptable. Notice and, sometimes voice, that something is not right. Few people will do this. Be proud of your rebelling nature!
I could probably go on and on, but the above are the highlights. Essentially, go against the world. Jesus said,
“If the world hate you, know ye, that it hath hated me before you. If you had been of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”
If you would like me to go into more detail on any of these guidelines just comment below and I will try to make it happen. 🙂
To conclude this post, I hope this guide will inspire you to live out your Catholic faith as a true Rebel of Christ.
People are often wary of the term “modesty” because of a fear of looking frumpy. The world certainly does not help us with this. It is so difficult to find clothing that covers us correctly and still makes us look becoming. Plus, even when we find such clothing, some (mostly jealous and judgmental) people will still frown upon it (You wear skirts? What religion do you belong to?). Those kinds of people we should pay no attention to. We are dressing for our dignity and to bring others to Christ.
Concerning tops, I must admit that it is extremely difficult to acquire ones that are both modest and stylish. Often, I buy a blouse that has a low cut and put a tank top under it. Or, if it is sleeveless, I will wear a sweater. The secret is to constantly be looking. If you hunt hard enough, I promise there are cute tops that are modest and attractive.
Be careful not to go overboard and only wear very loose-fitting and shapeless tops. Yes, we girls should avoid tight-fitting shirts that accentuate our chests. But we are women. We cannot help the way we look. It is not bad that we look the way we do. We can wear conforming clothing while not looking risque or frumpy. Further, we have an obligation to look nice when we are out in the world. Otherwise, people will not take us seriously in our faith.
I would wear a something underneath this as it is a little lower than I am comfortable with. But it would still look awfully cute.
Skirts can often be very difficult to find. However, they are out there. I know, because I have bought many skirts. It does help if you have some skill at sewing. Unfortunately, I am not very good at sewing, but my grandma graciously makes me skirts which are cute and stylish. If you have no skills whatsoever with sewing, don’t worry! As I said, there are skirts out there if you hunt hard enough. Just make sure you do not wear skirts that look like a sack; they certainly should not be tight, but they do need to look nice.
To finish your outfit, add scarves, belts, cute shoes, jewelry, and other accessories. Don’t be surprised at the compliments you will receive (“How classy!”) and even derogatory stares and comments. Life will never be perfect in this world if you are following God’s commandments.
A lot of people have very strong opinions on whether a young Catholic should attend a Catholic or Secular College. Here I am going to share my view. Please don’t get offended if you don’t agree with me; this is just my opinion and that’s all.
Many people will argue that a young person should only attend a Catholic College. I do see where they are coming from. A Catholic college strives to help its students advance in the Catholic faith. It does this by offering classes rooted in Catholic tradition and values, which is definitely a very, very good thing. Additionally, a Catholic college offers a Catholic oriented environment by having daily masses, other primarily Catholic students, and the support of the entire college in your Catholic faith.
When most people think of a con for attending a Catholic College they primarily think about the huge expense. Yes, that is definitely an issue! Not everyone is granted huge scholarships, and even after some are, it can still be expensive, especially adding plane tickets to the bundle. For many middle class families, especially if several children are attending college at the same time, a Catholic College is simply far out of the budget.
Another obvious reason some frown upon attending a Catholic College is that most people don’t live very close to one. Many young people would find it difficult to leave home and their family, even if they could afford it. Not seeing one’s family for several months is extremely hard for many people, and should not remain unconsidered and shrugged off as immature.
Something some people may not have considered is that a Catholic College can be a harmful shield against the real world. This of course can be good and bad. But I can’t help but say that if a young adult is not solidly formed in his or her Catholic faith, then something is wrong.
A Catholic college definitely can help reinforce one’s faith…but it also can harm it. I am not saying that this will happen to all, or even most, people. I am just saying we should take this into consideration. A person might attend a Catholic college and, especially if this person lives on campus, assume the whole world is pretty much just like it is at the Catholic college. When he or she enters the real world it can be a shock. He or she may react by being very naive when he or she enters his or her calling in life, and this can harm the person. Again, I am not saying that this will happen to every person who goes to a Catholic college; it is simply a consideration.
Moving on to a secular college. A secular college’s disadvantages are very easy to identify. Its courses are often not aligned to a Catholic viewpoint. The students and professors can be very worldly and, bluntly put, not good people. But not all people at a secular college are like that. There are some very good professors and virtuous students who are striving to live in the world, but not of it. Even if most of the professors and students at a secular college are in need of virtue, this does not mean a person cannot grow in holiness while being a student there. On the contrary, a person can develop a spirit of fortitude, courage, faith, and numerous other virtues just by defending and holding fast to his or her Catholic faith. If a person is living with his or her family, then the family can help him or her in any difficulties that may arise in living out his or her faith.
So, I am not against Catholic colleges at all; they can be truly beneficial for some people. However, I am defending the Catholic youth who decide to attend a secular college for whatever reason. It is not an “easy path to lose your soul”. On the contrary, it is an excellent place to experience the real world as a strong, devoted Catholic, and maybe bring a few wayward souls to Christ while you’re at it.
I always enjoy reading other Catholic girls’ and women’s opinions on modesty so I thought I’d throw mine out there. 🙂 By no means am I trying to “preach” or judge others; I am simply sharing my thoughts and standards that I feel comfortable with.
To begin with, I do not think it is a sin to wear pants. If I am going bike riding with my family I will don some pants. However, I would not be caught dead wearing the skin tight leggings that are so prevalent in our culture right now. I only wear leggings under a skirt to keep warm.
I do think that skirts are more modest than pants. Pants tend to accentuate parts of a women’s body that should not be emphasized. When I wear pants I always wear a very long shirt over loose fitting pants. But I much prefer skirts!
Skirts just bring out a girl’s femininity. They identify her as a lady who is worthy of respect. When a girl wears a skirt, she feels dignity. I’ve noticed that a man will open the door for me because he realizes that I am very feminine in a skirt. Men notice the dignity and highly approve of it.
Before the 1960s’ sexual revolution in which women were supposedly “freed” (I like to call it deluded), women pretty much ALWAYS wore skirts (or dresses). Women were happy with being who they were created to be. After the sexual revolution, many women decided they wanted to be “equal” with men and be able to do the same things and wear the same things as men. Obviously, this does not work well. When women leave their children to take on a man’s job and dress like a man, they significantly lose their dignity and the respect that comes with it.
So that is where we are today: post-sexual revolution times in which you are stared at when you wear a skirt and oftentimes ridiculed for wearing skirts regularly. But what others think should not matter to us. We know we are created in the image and likeness of God and so should respect our bodies and the dignity that we are given. So, go don your skirts and enjoy the dignity and respect you deserve as a woman. And enjoy, too, the ridicule you will receive; if the world hates what you are doing, it must be right!