Sunday, March 3, 2013

Confrontation for Christ

I've been praying for the courage to be bold for Christ for two years now.  Today, I got some. 

My husband had to work today, so I was at Mass with my three boys.  One section over, slightly in front of where we were sitting, were two beautiful, college-aged girls.  The beautiful girls were wearing shirts that left their backs and shoulders completely exposed, animal-print bra showing, and at best, a skirt that landed mid-thigh.

I was shocked at their lack of discretion, but also remembered being ignorant of affecting others with my clothing choices in my youth.  I found them to be a continual distraction through Mass, and felt more and more certain that I was being called to "fraternally correct" these girls.  So, after receiving communion, I wrote them a little note that went something like this:

Beautiful Girls,

When I was your age, I did not know that bare skin was a distraction and obstacle for men.  (I wish someone had told me).  In an effort to help them praise and worship their God, please consider dressing more consciously for Mass.

I only communicate this for love of God, your beautiful selves, and the Body of Christ.

Thank you for your consideration. (end)

I exited my pew and handed it to one of the girls in the aisle, saying "Here's something for your consideration."  She looked at me suspiciously, and I walked away. 

I felt nervous, but was pretty sure I had done the right thing by all.  Until they caught up with me in the parking lot as I was getting into my car (they were already in theirs).  Then, they let me have it.  Their comments went something like...

"So, you had to write it down;  You couldn't tell us to our face?  You must not have been paying attention in Mass if you were writing.  You were too busy judging us.  Some women can't wear whatever they want.  We can wear whatever we want.  This is why some people don't even come to Mass.  You are the only one who had a problem with it.  No one else said anything..." 

I listened patiently (although I was shaking inside).  I tried to explain that I thought they were beautiful, but that the men had to work twice as hard to pray and worship because of the distraction.  They told me how fake I was being.  So, I walked away, and they peeled out of the parking lot. 


Suddenly, I wasn't feeling so confident in my decision.

My boys were already in the car and privy to all that transpired.  "Mom, were those girls being mean to you?!"  I said "Yes.  I wrote them a note encouraging them to dress more respectfully when they come to God's house, and that made them mad."

I was expecting a chorus of disapproval because my boys hate confrontation (like me!).  But, my oldest said, "Mom, I think God would be very happy for what you did."  Whoa.  He took my breath away.  This is the kid who finds fault with almost everything I do, so the weight of his timely compliment was tremendous.  I was and am extremely grateful, and made sure to let him know.

I was aching for some reassurance, but am really trying to lean on God alone this Lenten season, so I said a little prayer.  "Lord, I really want to share this with somebody, but I want to trust in You more.  So, if you want me to talk to someone about it, please have them call me." 

Crickets.  That's what I was afraid of. 

Fortunately, we had a wonderful afternoon at a friend's house, celebrating her baby girl's baptism, and I was able to keep mum on the whole thing.  I did share with my husband when we got home, and he said he was proud of his "soldier".  I thought he was going to be embarrassed, but instead just laughed that I pulled the "When I was your age" card.  So, I'm feeling better about it as the night winds down, but might reconsider praying for courage tomorrow. ;)

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for another gorgeous day, for new souls added to the Christian family, for great-grandmothers who have 10 children, 29 grandchildren, and their wits.  Thank you for the example of the Christian families who are open to life.  Thank you for the Eucharist and the priests who make celebrating Mass and receiving You possible.  Thank you for answering our prayers.

Lord, please bless those beautiful girls and all who are tempted to use their God-given beauty to draw others to themselves.  Please convict them of Your love, and grant them wisdom, prudence, and modesty.  Please help them overlook my faults, so that they may know the good that You intend for them.

Lord, I hope I pleased You today, as I made three people very uncomfortable.  Lord, please continue to give me the courage to act for You, and out of love for my brothers and sisters.  I believe it is true that you call us to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.  Please grant me wisdom and charity, Lord.  I never want to be a stumbling block for those who are seeking You.  Please help me to rest in Your opinion, alone.  Amen.  


  1. Wow, this is awesome. What a brave example you are. Even though the situation didn't go well with the girls I am sure they will think about what you said. No one likes being corrected and we as human beings tend to become defensive when anyone thinks we are in the wrong, but what you said will be in the back of their mind the next time they get dressed. You definitely did the right thing!

    1. Thank you for your encouragement, Cailin! Pray for those girls and all who are tempted to clamor for attention as a substitute for the love of Christ.

  2. This reminds me of the time I was at my cousin's confirmation (must have been around '97) and she was dressed in a short skirt and a spaghetti strap top. I could not believe it. Not only was she in God's house, in front of the congregation and the priest, but also the bishop! I knew this cousin was flashy, but I know my aunt was raised to be modest with her Irish Catholic mother and German/Navy father. I have to say that the cousin is now living it up in L.A. flashing her bikini clad body on Facebook and talking about her Prada and all those other names. I wish someone like you had been around to tell her to be more respectful of others AND HERSELF.

    1. Stephanie, you are "like me". We need to encourage each other to charitable action, if there is the possibility of a good outcome. I love the quote, "A woman's heart should be so hidden in Christ, a man should have to seek Him first to find her." Great to see you this morning.

  3. I think sometimes people need to be confronted. I rarely do it (I'm pretty anti confrontational too) and there are times I still think back and wish I had said something. It is very hard but I think in the end you planted a seed and made them consider what they wear and where they wear it. Lots of love to you :)

    1. Lots of love to you, too, Clarissa! Thank you for your comment. We missed you this morning.

  4. You are a woman centered on Christ. You responded to a moment of grace lead by the Holy Spirit rather than letting it pass you by. It is human nature to desire solace in the Holy Spirit when we respond to His call. He instead is letting you suffer through the reality of the situation. You are united to those women through your suffering. Pray for them. You planted a seed. Lord, my the words spoken by your faithful and humble servant produce the fruit of a mustard seed.

    1. Thank you for your response and your prayer, Melissa. I am praying daily for all who are seeking attention from others instead of seeking Christ. I am learning it is really hard to do both. Peace and Love to you.