From the moment I took my first solo flight at age 9 to South America, my heart was set as a traveler. I was off to see the world!
Eventually I began dreaming the Hollywood dream and around the age of 18 I actually started living it.
After eight years as a professional model and actor my soul was body slammed by God and I was stunned before the Eucharist; I was called by name and transformed!
My life had a new passion – the Passion of Jesus Christ.
Two years before my conversion, Cosmo magazine had selected me as one of America’s 50 Most Eligible Bachelors.
But it wasn’t true. I wasn’t such a catch; I didn’t have God in my life.
A man with God is certainly more of a prime candidate. Being “in the world, not of the world” was as hard for women to understand as it was for me to explain.
As a model I would see things in the auditions, runways and photoshoots that the world calls “sexy and hot.”
But for me, the most attractive thing was modesty!
And no, I don’t mean turtle necks and potato sacks! It’s more than just necklines and dress lengths, but modesty of dress, of conversation, of music and of lifestyle.
One day I heard the phrase “modest is hottest,” and while the word “hottest” shocked me, I couldn’t help but identify. While skimpy outfits turn my head, nothing turns my heart and mind to the person before me like modesty!
‘A gem among virtues’
St. Bernard of Clairvaux exclaims: “How beautiful then, is modesty, and what a gem among virtues it is.”
I echo his words. I see great beauty in women. They are gems.
Blessed John Paul II talked about our bodies revealing God to us. I also learned from him that true love and sexual union are a gift of one person to another which is FTFF (free, total, faithful and fruitful).
We are in the world, and often what I see of others’ bodies is not appropriate for me and everyone to see, but rather for the beautiful intimacy that spouses share. Our bodies are such beautiful mysteries that lose their enticement when so easily visible and accessible to any passerby.
I like how Alice von Hildebrand put it: “To dress modestly is the appropriate response that women should give to their ‘mystery.’“
When I see a woman, I sometimes picture her as my future wife and the mother of my children. I want the woman I spend the rest of my life with to be a model of chastity and purity. The imagination shouldn’t have to be so stretched in order to see that as a possible reality, but in so many cases that’s the way it goes.
So what can a man do about it?
Well, after being shunned out of the living rooms and off the party invite lists of disgruntled women who don’t understand my desire for purity, one response I have adopted is to stand up – or rather, to push up – for purity and modesty.
Around the world, using the power of Facebook, I am part of a movement that is exercising as an intercession for ourselves and for others to see the beauty of purity and modesty and, in turn, to practice it.
Fasting on bread and water has been a customary mortification of mine, but when I heard about Push-Ups for Purity, I joined the club immediately. It requires no official ceremony or ritual. Just do the 100 push-ups daily and offer them up that chastity and modesty may become the “norm” in society.
Actually, Push-Ups for Purity was last month, this month I started a continuing event called Sit-Ups for Purity (or Abs 4 Abstinence). I am proud to be one of many men (and women) who is standing up for purity and modesty!
I am proud to do this for the love of purity and modesty, while at the same time getting our heartbeats going and muscles chiseled. It may seem superficial, but it’s a love revolution!
We don’t have to neglect our body or place it on the altar as a new deity. Balancing exercise with prayer is one way to make an offering for our society in desperate need. I need it, our future spouses need it and so do our friends, brothers and sisters.
Pope Pius XII issued a stark call to action, saying: “As long as modesty will not be put into practice, the society will continue to degrade. Society reveals what it is by the clothes it wears.”
Until next time, I’m offering my sit-ups and push-ups for you and me. Honor the mystery. Make a sacrifice, offering and reparation. Modest is hottest!
Will you join me and put it into practice?