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  • Sarah Raad

Shoes

Christ – God of the Universe – wore the skin of His own Feet raw for love of us…

Christ Walking to Calvary (Hieronymus Bosch)

The other day, at my little niece’s baptism, I was wearing a beautiful pair of shoes. They were terribly high and covering in gorgeous gold sparkles. They are simply fabulous shoes!


One of my little nieces (who also happens to be my goddaughter) is only three years old. She noticed my shoes from across the room, walked over to me, tugged on the hem of my dress, and when I bent down to listen to her, she whispered into my ear, “I really love your shoes.”


I have always loved shoes, since I was a little girl. Handbags were not terribly important to me, they always seemed (and still do) like a headache to carry around, especially if things can fit inside a wallet or a pocket… But shoes – well shoes are different. To me, shoes say something about a person.


These days at work I wear ordinary ballet flats or ankle boots. They are comfortable and the boots keep my feet warm in winter. I wear them from 5 o’clock in the morning, and do not remove them until I am finished for the day at 9:30 or 10 at night – so as you might imagine, comfort is very important to me when I chose my shoes these days! But when I was younger, I wore all sorts of crazy shoes. I had literally scores of shoes, in all sorts of colours and styles. I had a different pair of shoes for each of my work outfits, and never wore a heel that was less than 6 inches tall… Those were the good old days – and are also probably the reason why my comfortable flats are what I spend most of my life in – after all, the human back was not designed to be supported on the balls of one’s feet for 12 or 13 hours each day, and there will be long term ramifications for those shoe choices…


These days, the only time I have to enjoy my gorgeous shoes is when I go out – on a weekend after Mass, or to a party or function. It is only then that I really look forward to wearing some seriously beautiful and impractical shoes…


But though I can run and jump and skip in crazy shoes like that – thanks to a lot of practice over about a decade of wear – even I know that it is not very efficient to try doing all of these things wearing shoes such as these. After all, for running and jumping and skipping, ballet flats, ankle boots, or just plain old joggers, would surely be preferable.


Once when I was at university over 20 years ago now, I decided to walk from the Sydney University Campus all the way down George Street, wearing a particularly uncomfortable pair of flip-flop thongs – which were a fabulous lime green and matched my outfit perfectly. By the time I finished my 30-minute walk, my feet were literally a bleeding mess of blisters and each step was agony and I felt as though I were walking on knives. It was the longest 30 minutes of my life…


I was thinking about shoes the other day, while I was saying my prayers. After all, I it is not a far cry to think of shoes when one is meditating on Christ’s suffering and His long slow walk to Calvary.

I wonder often about His Holy feet, and I wonder about His shoes…

It seems unlikely that the same soldiers who scourged Him and spit on Him and crowned Him with thorns would have had the courtesy to ensure that He was comfortably shod for the long journey that He was to undertake to Calvary carrying His Cross.


Perhaps as in the scheme of things Christ did not mind when His Holy Feet touched the rotten filth on the road to Calvary, perhaps He barely noticed, because His soul was consumed by the affront, the shame, the sheer terribleness of our sins.


And so, perhaps my Beloved walked barefoot. This makes things even more terrible in my mind.


For it took time for Christ to walk that walk. It took him up to one and a half hours to walk from His place of imprisonment to His place of execution carrying that Cross and knowing that He was soon to die. How interminable that walk must have felt to Him.


Sometimes, I wonder if the worst part of the Crucifixion was the Crowning of Thorns or the Scourging at the Pillar or even the Nailing to the Cross… Sometimes I wonder, if the worst of it was the actual walk to Calvary…


For the Crowning and the Scourging and the Nailing were all DONE TO Him, but the walk – that walk – HE DID THAT HIMSELF. HE DID THAT FOR US…


The Pope sometimes wears red shoes. Those red shoes symbolise the blood of the martyrs, for the Church was founded upon the blood of the martyrs...

You see, shoes say something about a person. And Christ – Christ was barefoot.

Just have a think about that…


Christ, God of the Universe, wore the skin of His own feet raw for love of us…


What a terrible terrible love that is… How truly sorry I really am…


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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