You can always recognize the Catholic women on Ash Wednesday, sure enough. They’re the ones going around with Big Black Smudges on their foreheads.
But here’s a little tip to help you spot a Catholic in the crowd the rest of the year: Look at her shoes.
I’m not much of a fashion plate. Oh, my closet is full, sure enough—but that’s because I HATE to shop and so I save EVERYTHING. That sweater from 10 years ago? Who knows when I’ll have a new suit, and I’ll need a turquoise shell again. The belt that’s a bit too snug? Well, when I find time to work out and I lose weight, I’ll wear it for sure!
But shoes? Well, who doesn’t love shoes?!
The problem that I have, though, is that all of my shoes are CATHOLIC shoes. You know the ones: They may be dress pumps or loafers or ballerina flats or platforms; but all of my shoes share one characteristic: scuffed, worn toes.
My friends in other denominations don’t share this malady. In their worship, they sit or stand, wave their arms, close their eyes; but they don’t kneel. Catholics, on the other hand, kneel all the time—when they genuflect on entering a pew, when they pray for a few minutes before Mass begins, during the Consecration…. There’s something about having Jesus right there, looking back at you, that drives you to your knees.
And hence, the toes. If I were more responsible in my posture, I’d bend my ankles a little tighter, turn my toes out and avoid plopping them right, smack flat onto the floor when using the kneeler. I never think of it, though—and so, two weeks after purchase, those shiny designer shoes are irreparable. I’ll wear them for another two years, but they’ll always look beat-up and old.
That’s not such a bad thing, though. At least, it seems to me that a little time on my knees, before the Creator of the Universe, is not too big a deal.
Advent is a good time to check your toes. Do you have Catholic shoes?