THE MONICA SOCIETY | CIVILITY & GRACE
‘Let your demeanor, your dress, your walking, your sitting down, the nature of your food, the quality of your being, your house and what it contains, aim at simplicity. And let your speech, your singing, your manner with your neighbor, let these things also be in accord with humility rather than with vanity. In your words let there be no empty pretence, in your singing no excess sweetness, in conversation be not ponderous or overbearing...Be a help to your friends, kind to the ones with whom you live...patient with those who are troublesome, loving towards the lowly, comforting those in trouble, visiting those in affliction, never despising anyone, gracious in friendship, cheerful in answering others, courteous and approachable to everyone...’ - St Basil the Great, Homily on Humility, V.
Civility and Grace.
Many women have been guided in the past by uninformed understandings of vanity and modesty. While these values are certainly essential in the life of a woman who is transformed by patience and spiritual intimacy, they by no means require that outer beauty should be denied. As a woman is inwardly transformed by her creator, her outer beauty will grow as well. When this happens, the changes that she experiences internally should naturally manifest themselves in how she cares for and carries herself.

A common fallacy in various religious cultures implies that a woman's sexual attractiveness should be repressed or hidden in the name of modesty. Another related teaching equates a woman's care for her appearance to vanity. However, even a superfluous reading of sacred texts demonstrates the value that faithful women have had for themselves. While this source of a woman's inner beauty lies from a place deep within her soul, her care for her body is a reflection of her devotion to spiritual obedience.

By no means does this mean that a woman should feel pressured to live up to the false standards of body image that are advocated by Western culture; nor should she make herself the victim of self-deprecating comparisons and judgments. However, every woman is a stewardess of the body that was given to her. As such, it is her responsibility not only to care for her body, but to present herself to others with the greatest degree of loveliness, dignity, and respect possible.

For this reason, a great deal of the Monica community's focus is on healthful choices, dietary discipline, wardrobe, fitness and other aspects of appearance and behavior as they relate to the spiritual and sexual lives of our members. Such practices direct us to seek ways for these values to be reflected accurately in the way we present ourselves to others.

To see these things as superficialities is to misunderstand the reasons for our emphases. We do these things not out of self-pride, but out of a confidence that by doing these things we make ourselves more pleasing to others.

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