Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Where are Mary's Shoes?

Yesterday, my three year old granddaughter was playing with all the interesting little  things on my dresser.  I  asked her if she knew who the statue was of.  She answered, "Baby Jesus."  Well, she was half right.  We were looking at a statue of Mary holding Jesus.  I explained that His Mother Mary was holding the Baby Jesus.

She examined the statue more closely.  Then she asked, "Where are Mary's shoes?"  I never noticed that Mary was barefoot before, and I didn't know.  I admitted I didn't know, and we went on to other interesting things, like spraying perfume all over everything, and opening my jewelry box.  But ever since that simple question, I've been wondering why doesn't Mary wear shoes.

I've seen statues where she does.  They did wear shoes in her time.  Remember Yahweh told Moses to take his shoes off.  Exodus 3:5

So if it were the custom to wear shoes, probably sandals in her part of the world, why is she barefoot?  She definitely was poor.  She married a carpenter.  When she and Joseph took Jesus to be circumcised, they paid the price that the poor paid.  (Lev 12:6)  But the poor wore simple sandals.

I think it's just pure, simple, artistic interpretation.  It's the sculptor's prerogative to decide the footwear.  Definitely, in the statues where Mary is stepping on the serpent we need to see her heel crushing the serpent.  Otherwise, I think the bare feet was just to show Mary's poverty and humility.  That's why the Discalced Carmelites and Primitive Franciscans go barefoot.

Do you think a three year old would understand poverty and humility?

Maybe, I should just tell her that Mary is more comfortable barefoot.  After all, my granddaughter is always taking off her shoes.