To religious the following words of the Apostle are particularly applicable: We are made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men.” And again: Religious are attentively observed by the angels and by men; and therefore their modesty should be made manifest before all; if they do not practise modesty, terrible shall be the account which they must render to God on the day of judgment. what devotion does a modest religious inspire, what edification does she give, by keeping her eyes always cast down! Francis of Assisi once said to his companion, that he was going out to preach.After walking through the town, with his eyes fixed on the ground, he returned to the convent.His companion asked him when he would preach the sermon.We have, replied the saint, by the modesty of our looks, given an excellent instruction to all who saw us. Aloysius, that when he walked through Rome the students would stand in the streets to observe and admire his great modesty. Ambrose says, that to men of the world the modesty of the saints is a powerful exhortation to amendment of life.that all inordinate affections and desires are excited.Hence, holy Job made a covenant with his eyes, that he would not so much as think upon a virgin.
The indulgence of the eyes, if not productive of any other evil, at least destroys recollection during the time of prayer.Augustine, “our eyes should by chance fall upon others, let us take care never to fix them upon any one.” Father Manareo, when taking leave of St.Ignatius for a distant place, looked steadfastly in his face: for this look he was corrected by the saint. Ignatius on this occasion, we learn that it was not becoming in religious to fix their eyes on the countenance of a person even of the same sex, particularly if the person is young.Hence it is her duty to abstain from all looks of curiosity, which distract her mind from holy thoughts.Let her eyes be directed only to objects which raise the soul to God. Bernard used to say, that to fix the eyes upon the earth contributes to keep the heart in heaven. Gregory, “Christ is, there modesty is found.” However, I do not mean to say that the eyes should never be raised or never fixed on any object.“Gaze not about,” says the Holy Ghost, “upon another’s beauty; . Bernard could not tell whether his cell was vaulted.