Beauty, Dress and “Laudato Si”

One of my favorite hobbies is looking at people’s photography and artwork online.  Those landscape images or inspirational quotes always stir me to look beyond the mediocrity of daily life to the transcendent.  If you like inspirational artwork, check out this blog:

I was seeking a topic for assignment four of Blogging 101.  I found this image from FOCUS:

Courtesy of FOCUS
Courtesy of FOCUS

It’s a great quote from Pope Francis’ latest encyclical “Laudato Si” on the environment.  Most people assume the pope is a modern St. Francis: love the poor, love neighbor and love creation.  But they forget how thoughtful the pope is.  From the first few chapters of his encyclical “Laudato Si,” he managed to weave together the environment, community and the interior life.   The pontiff stressed that we can’t solve one problem without dealing with the others.  The term “interior ecology of man” resonated with me.

I will enjoy reading the rest of the encyclical during this month.  You can check out a summary of the encyclical here:

Following release of the encyclical, Pope Francis’s Twitter account (@Pontifex) quoted it a lot.  Among the many tweets, I found this one:

We should take up that challenge — not just because critics attack us on our shortcomings, but because the love of God is so dynamic and satisfying that we want to improve.  Of course, we need God’s grace to help.  But we need to cooperate with our effort.

How I dress up for Mass is one way to improve.

When I was younger, I wore only T-shirt and jeans.  Sometimes, I didn’t care what the graphics were on the T-shirt.  Maybe that reflected my interior spiritual life of a limp faith.  But I had a conversion experience in 2010.  One of those effects was how I dressed for Mass.  I began to think that what I was wearing was not conveying how I was feeling about God inside.  So I replaced the T-shirt with a polo shirt.  The jeans gave way to dress pants and shoes.  At the seminary, I wore a suit.

Back home for break, I had backslided to a polo shirt and jeans for daily and Sunday Masses.  But this video made me reconsider:

I need to dress better.  I left the suit in Boston.  But I brought a dress shirt, tie and pants that would work for Sunday Mass (the most important Mass of the week).  Sometimes, we need to be reminded about what matters.  How we dress and how we feel directly affect each other.  (This reiterates the interconnectedness Pope Francs wrote among the environment, community and the interior life).

If you want to read more reflections on dressing up for Mass, check out Brandon Vogt’s entry:  Plus, you can find a link to the video there and a link to a woman’s perspective on dressing for Mass.

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