In the St. Wenceslas tale that is told around this time of year, we see a king’s mercy and compassion. Good King Wenceslas, who has had songs and story books made of his life, set out one winter’s night with his squire to take food and firewood to his poor subjects. The snow was deep, and the squire was young and struggling with his bundle of food. St. Wenceslas told the young squire to walk in his footprints as the snow would not be so deep for him. St. Wenceslas would forge the way. All his squire had to do was follow.
The squire found that when he stayed in the footprints of his king, his burden was lighter, and he was able to make his way better in the dark winter night. This tale is a lot like what the Virgin Mary does for us. She has set out footprints for us to follow that lead the way to her son, Jesus. She knows the way to her son. They were her footsteps that first carried Jesus when the angel Gabriel announced she was to become the Mother of God. Mary’s footprints can be seen around the world. As a true mother to her children, she walks ahead of us so our little feet can follow hers to a better and safer place.
We walk in her footprints at Marian Shrines around the world. Her first steps as a child were taken in the Holy Land. Later, they walked across stone floors in the Temple where she lived as a child. Her steps quickened and grew as she became the Mother of God and trod a path to see St. Elizabeth before she obediently walked to Bethlehem with a baby in her womb. She followed her Son on His missionary journey across Israel where He preached and performed miracles, and she walked the path to Calvary where her Son was crucified. She walks with us now.
Mary is always leaving us new footprints: Appearing to three small children at Fatima, to St. Bernadette at Lourdes, to St. Juan Diego in Guadalupe, and in Medjugorje where six visionaries sat at her feet on Apparition Hill. She has appeared to countless numbers of saints to inspire them and direct their feet on the path toward God. She has left her footprint on almost every continent appearing to warn her children and tell them of God’s love for them.
She calls us to follow her…all the way to her Son.