The Pope’s Red Shoes

Image

The wearing of red papal shoes (then “sandals”) dates back to the earliest times of the Church.  However, in 1566 St. Pope Pius V, a White Dominican, decided to change the papal vestments from red to white leaving only the Pope’s cappello (a wide circular brimmed hat), cape and shoes the color red.  Usually elaborate, the leather soled, less structured papal “slippers” of the time were made of red satin and silk along with gold thread and embroidered ruby encrusted crosses. 

Until the first half of the 20th century, it was customary for pilgrims having an audience with the Pope to kneel and kiss one of his slippers.  Similar to many of noblemen of the time, the Pope also wore red slippers inside his residences and red Morocco leather shoes outside.  Centuries later, Pope Paul VI decided to update his footwear and eventually discontinued the use of “slippers” altogether in favor of sturdy red shoes for both indoor and outdoor use.

Throughout Church history, the color red has been deliberately chosen to represent the blood of Catholic martyrs spilt through the centuries following in the footsteps of Christ.  The red papal shoes are also linked to Christ’s own bloodied feet as he was prodded, whipped, and pushed along the Via Dolorosa on his way to his crucifixion, culminating in the piercing of his hands and feet on the cross.  The red shoes also symbolize the submission of the Pope to the ultimate authority of Jesus Christ.  Beyond this, it is said the red papal shoes also signify God’s burning love for humanity as exhibited during Pentecost when red vestments are worn to commemorate the decent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles as tongues of fire rest upon their heads.

From: “Red Shoes and the Room of Tears” by Judy Keane      http://catholicexchange.com/red-shoes-and-the-room-of-tears

 Photo source:    http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2013/mar/12/why-pope-wears-red-shoes/

Traversing the Mountain of God: A North Korean Odyssey PART ONE

Walls within walls within walls…

My inner-speak is free and You hear every word.

We walk in the secret garden of love You have planted in my heart

I can see how things should be in the light of Your love.

You regard my rootless restlessness

In the outer political dungeon

With Your loving compassion.

And then, as though it were a blessing and a preparation,

You take off my thin shoes with Your warm hands.

Wash my calloused feet and anoint them with the fragrant oil

Of Your presence.

You have given them

An itch for freedom of movement

Outside these walls.

 

These days

My outer path is cold, circular and unrelenting.

A maze of fragmented heart-rending choices

To do what is best for my family

And yet serve the political dragon.

When I walk ‘underground’

I find great illumination in the darkness

As I walk in Your word in worship.

Outside, I walk with heart tucked in

A paper badge on my sleeve;

My biggest lie.

 

With Your wind at my back

My longing for freedom gets a longer stride.

Your comfort is there as I turn a corner and make difficult choices…

What to do next? So many possible snares!

Comfort again from You and

By Holy Spirit impetus,

I am bid to move into the forbidden freedom.

To climb an impossible mountain.

With courage.

 

Where will strength and provision for the treacherous journey come from?

Wholly His I have wholly received

The breath of life within me.

The source of life.  The overcoming power.

You breathe encouragement into me

 

Your every Word a firestorm of love

You fan the flame in my heart.

I have learned an inner walk

Where I walk on the coals of this furnace within me

In practice

You have shown me what I can do

With You at my back.

Every practical matter is in Your hands.

Sight unseen,

I begin to trust deeply in an underground part of me

That You are forming.

 

© 2013 by Teresa Sandhu. All rights reserved