Sister Lucia of Fatima wrote a last book that she finished on the 25th of March 1997. Her title in Portuguese is “Apelos da Messagem da Fatima”. We got the English translation, “Calls from the message of Fatima”, from a friend living in Fatima, Mr. Robert Nesnick. The address where copies of Sister Lucia's book can be obtained is: Secretariado dos Pastorinhos, 2496-908 Fatima, Portugal.
In this book, Lucia speaks about the customs of her country at the time of the apparitions and, naturally, she speaks about the clothing.
by Sister Lucia of Fatima
|“Certain fashions will come that will offend Our Lord very much,” said Blessed Jacinta of Fatima in 1917|
Would that the clothes people wear in our own day had even a touch of the modesty, the respect for human dignity, displayed by those worn by the village women of those days! It will be good for us to recall here what Sacred Scripture has to say on this subject: “Yahweh God made clothes out of the skins for the man and his wife, and they put them on.” (Gen. 3, 21).
Why did God clothe the first two human beings if, before that, they were naked? Scripture itself tells us the answer:
“Then Yahweh God gave the man this admonition, `You may eat indeed of all trees in the garden. Nevertheless of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you are not to eat, for on the day you eat of it you shall most surely die' (...) The woman saw that the tree was good to eat and pleasing to the eye... she took some of its fruit and ate it. She gave some also to her husband who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they realized that they were naked. So they sewed fig leaves together to make themselves loin cloths.
“Yahweh God made clothes out of skins for the man and his wife, and they put them on.” This sacred text shows us that God covered the bodies that had stripped themselves, through sin, of the garment of grace. For this reason, we must all clothe ourselves decently, modestly and with dignity. Those who appear indecently dressed are an incentive to sin, and so are responsible not only for their own sins but also for those that others may commit because of them. Reflect that fashion, if it is indecent – and we see that the world unfortunately follows it as if it were a law – is a trick of the devil, a clever trap in which the devil catches souls, in the same way as hunters catch game in the woods and fields.
God did not give us clothing as an adornment in order to feed our human vanity and frivolity. No! He gave it to us as a protection against sin, as a sign of penance for sin committed, and a punishment for it, as well as to remind us of the laws of God which we are all obliged to obey.
Let us begin by examining how it is a sign of punishment and penance for sin committed, and a protection against temptation. The sacred text tells us that, after they had sinned, Adam and Eve tried to cover themselves with fig leaves; but God did not think this was enough because, Sacred Scripture tells us, He “made clothes out of skins for the man and his wife, and they put them on.” (Gen. 3, 21).
Then follows a description of the punishment and the penance imposed on account of the sin: “Yahweh God expelled him from the garden of Eden, to till the soil from which he had been taken” (Gen. 3, 23). And this “until you return to the soil, as you were taken from it. For dust you are and to dust you shall return.” (Gen. 3, 19). Thus, after clothing them, God expels them from the garden, but only after having imposed on them the penance of work, telling them to cultivate the earth until they return to the ground from which they were taken, in other words until they die.
Human beings brought the sentence of death on themselves by sinning in disobeying the commandment of God, who had told them: ”But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall most surely die”. (Gen. 2, 17) Yes, your body will die because you sinned and transgressed the law of your God. But worse still, your soul will be lost forever unless you repent and do penance. You will die, if you do not change your life, if you do not return to obeying the law of your God.
Notice, however, that it is not only for these two reasons – punishment and penance for our sins – that God clothes us; it served other purposes too. Besides being a protection against sin, the modest clothing with which we must cover ourselves is a distinguishing mark setting us apart in the stream of immorality and enabling us to be, for the world, true witnesses of Christ.
Clothing also serves to remind us of the laws of God, and of our serious obligation to obey them. God, in fact, asked his people to wear, over their clothes, concrete signs which would remind them of his holy commandments: “Speak to the people of Israel and bid them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put upon the tassel of each corner a cord of blue; and it shall be to you a tassel to look upon and remember all the commandments of the Lord, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to go after wantonly” (Num. 15, 38-39).
Let us look at what God is saying here: The tassels of your clothes will serve to remind you of the commandments of the Lord, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to go after wantonly.
Our clothes, then, are to be a protection for the eyes and the heart, so that we will not allow ourselves to be caught in the temptations of the flesh, the devil and the world.
The tassels mentioned in the text undoubtedly envisage some kind of decoration on our clothing; but such decoration must be in accordance with modesty, with the dignity of the human person, with decency, in short, with morality, prompting us to observe the commandments of the Law of God.
Finally, let us reflect of the expression that God uses: “throughout your generations”. This makes us think that God was not speaking for the sake of the Israelites of the time alone. What He said to them concerns us too, today, as it will concern those who come after us – not in the external form of the sign chosen which, naturally, changes, but in the meaning and specific purpose we must not lose sight of, if we are to respect the order of things as God created them. Because the Law comes to us from God and does not change; it is immutable as He himself is immutable.
Sister Lucia of Fatima