Week 3: Lent with Jacinta – The “sins of vanity”

“Certain fashions will be introduced that will offend Our Lord very greatly and those who serve God should not follow them.” St. Jacinta Marto

How difficult these days to find clothing designs that don’t draw the wrong attention, clothing that speaks to the beauty, truth and goodness of women and men. It is an upstream battle against a culture that is increasingly absorbed in things of the flesh.

Little Jacinta Marto, when she received this message from Our Lady, had no experience of going to a shopping mall or even a store to purchase clothing. The family made their clothing, or it was carefully preserved and handed down from older siblings. Clothing was designed to protect the body from the elements and to protect the virtue of the person. Jacinta had no exposure to media that would promote something otherwise.

But would Our Lady have just been speaking about clothing or about all that has become fashionable – things we do to our bodies? How quickly it became acceptable and even fashionable to get a tattoo; now it is about many tattoos all over the body, including one’s head and face to the point of distorting one’s image. Some have taken cosmetic surgery to such an extreme out of vanity that they have destroyed their natural beauty. We see how quickly it is becoming mainstream to change one’s bodily gender simply because of how one “feels”, with no concern for the underlying issues that are driving these feelings.  

And what is going on in the halls of science?  Using human embryos and the parts of aborted babies as a means to an end, genetic modification of human embryos, “designer” babies, combining the genes of humans with animals, cloning and other gene technologies are all being done with impunity in the name of making ourselves gods and the authors of life and death.

All of these are attacks on the body – the body that God created out of love for us, and as an image of Himself. Our bodies that contain souls and are temples of the Holy Spirit. When God created man, He called it good. We now call it not good enough.

St. Paul exhorts:  “…although they knew God they did not accord glory as God or give him thanks. Instead they became vain in their reasoning and their senseless minds were darkened … therefore God handed them over to impurity through their lusts of their hearts and the mutual degradation of their bodies. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshipped the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen” (Rm 1:21, 24-25).

We cannot simply dismiss this message from Our Lady as old fashioned. Rather, it was a warning to us about how far down we can go. St. Jacinta would not have been able grasp the full meaning of this; she just knew these fashions would offend God.

St. Jacinta, pray for us. Pray for all humanity. Help us to see God’s image in ourselves and in our neighbors.

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  1. These sins are the result of disregarding the basics of Faith. We are created to know, love, and serve God. In order to know God, we must read the Bible, have a prayer life ( especially the rosary) and receive the sacraments (Confession and Communion). Once we know God and establish a relationship with Him, only then can we love Him. When we love God, then we will not want to offend or sin against Him. This love then leads to serving God because of His goodness and love for us. We must understand as Mother Teresa did. Jesus thirsts for us in love, and He wants us to thirst for Him in love as well.

  2. On May 13th (I’m not sure of the year – 2008?). I walked 13 miles from Bascilica Of St. Mary, Minneapolis To Cathedral In St. Paul, Minnesota praying the Rosary In Honor Of Our Lady Of Fatima. I did this for 3 years consecutively. Now I’m 70 years old & would like to do something special again for Our Lady. Thank You!

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