Clothe the Naked

Matthew 25:36 “…naked and you clothed me.”

I volunteer in a thrift store. While I haven’t done all that much as there seems to be an abundance of volunteers that coincided with my beginning there, I have learned a few things.

One nice thing is that they just don’t accept any kind of clothing for the store. It has to be in good condition, and perhaps not way out of date. There explanation is that there is a “dignity concern.” The people that shop there must not feel like they are getting cast-off junk. You may feel that “beggars can’t be choosy,” but essentially even if people are at the low end of the economic spectrum, they shouldn’t have to meekly accept junk just because they are poor. It may not be the finest clothing, nor the latest style, but they look decent.

That caused me to think about when people are vain about their appearance, declare that they must wear the finest clothing, that sort of thing. Is that really necessary? Vanity in regards to clothing is dressing inappropriately, to draw attention to yourself and to flaunt your wealth and physical attributes. Pride may also play a part. Does that make you a better person, looking better than others? How is your internal appearance? The appearance of your soul?

How will you look when you stand before God and are judged?

If you click on the image below, you’ll be taken to the “Works of Mercy” store at Artist4God (my wife’s online shop.) Buy anything from the “Works of Mercy” store and a portion of the proceeds go to life-affirming charities.

Clothe The Naked Sweatshirts
Clothe The Naked Sweatshirts by WorksOfMercy

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

4 Comments

  1. This is a very interesting concept because it touches on so many things. “Dignity”, in this case, is related to clothing relative to other folks’ clothing – i.e not just purely functional. Assuming I have clothing that is out-of -date or otherwise not in great condition, it is to be thrown away – is that good? Is it possible there is someone who might be willing to wear clothing out-of-date but because we have this standard then he/she won’t get it?

    Similarly with low wage jobs. Are they beneath the dignity of people, or is it better they have something rather than nothing? Is the perfect the enemy of the good in these cases?

    And the larger question is, for me, this: Is income inequality inherently evil? Does it matter to me that Bill Gates is incredibly wealthier than me as long as I have a comfortable existence? I tend to think that what matters is not income inequality (or, clothing inequality in this post) but the measure of how well off the poor are. I would rather have a “prosperous poor” than a situation where the poor are more impoverished but incomes are more equal.

    But there’s certainly a good number of holy and worthy people who would rather see the poor poorer (if that should happen) because then the poor would not be able to SEE and FEEL the income inequality so prevalent in capitalistic societies. Which is to say, I suppose, that self-image is more important than materialistic concerns. But then that’s easy for someone in a good financial situation to say.

  2. I love thrift stores! This economy has had it’s affect on our family so we have purchased really good quality clothes from Goodwill. My vanity stems from other ways besides clothing..ways of caring too much about what others think of me..I need to work on caring only what God thinks. Great post thanks.

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