"Everyone who belongs to the Truth hears my voice…" (John 18:37)

Mary, Undoer of Knots

knots-in-handHave you ever had one of those situations where no matter how hard you tried, you weren’t able to fix it? I think we’ve all experienced this, likely many times. It’s the nature of living in a world where sin has taken hold. Sometimes, we say or do things that are selfish and hurtful – things that we can’t take back, even though we wish we could. Or maybe we’ve made poor decisions or acted without thinking, and there is no way to undo the harm. Some things – like health concerns, financial difficulties, or job losses – are beyond our control. But even in these cases, we can still choose how we will respond: whether we will turn to God and ask for His help, or whether we will try to ‘go it alone.’

maryundoerofknots

Maria Knotenlöserin (Mary Undoer of Knots) by Johann George Melchior Schmidtner (c. 1700, oil on poplar), in the Church of St. Peter am Perlach, Augsburg, Bavaria, Germany.

Anytime we turn away from God and His love, “a kind of knot is created deep within us.”1 Then the channel of grace, from which all blessings flow, is obstructed, and we soon find ourselves moving further and further from the Source of our love. We may not even know how to find our way back. But there is something we can do, somewhere we can turn in our desperation – and that is to our Heavenly Mother. Because of Mary’s unwavering faith, Jesus has given His Mother to us, to be our Mother too. At these times, a mother’s touch – her gentle, warm embrace – is exactly what we need. And Jesus surely knew this! As Pope Francis reminds us, Mary “patiently and lovingly brings us to God, so he can untangle the knots of our soul by his fatherly mercy.”2

One of the early Church Fathers, Saint Irenaeus, was perhaps the first to describe Mary’s role this way. He taught that through obedience to God’s will, Mary untied the “knot of disobedience” that had allowed sin to first enter the world.3 Her ‘yes’ was a game changer! Mary is the New Eve, loosening by faith what Eve bound by unbelief. It was an idea that would later inspire the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council to affirm Mary as “the Mother of the living.”4Pope-Francis-with-Mary

This image of Our Blessed Mother – Mary, Untier of Knots – is one for which our own Pope Francis carries a strong devotion. It stems from a time in his life when he was living in Germany and came across an icon in a church in Augsburg that shows the Blessed Virgin, “unravelling the entanglements in [a] ribbon, assisted by two angels and surrounded by cherubs, while her foot casually crushes the head of a serpent representing the Devil.”5 The encounter must have moved him deeply, for it is said to have helped rekindle his love and devotion for Mary.

When we see the threads of our lives becoming entangled, we also can seek Mary’s intercession and leave all our worries in her capable hands. A beautiful novena has been written precisely for this purpose – one that is very powerful. Abandoning ourselves to God’s mercy through our Heavenly Mother, we can trust that Our Lord will bring something good from each and every difficulty and sorrow.

And about that novena…don’t worry if you don’t get it just right. As for me, well, I’m on Day 12. (Yes, novenas are supposed to last nine days!) It just goes to show how fitting this prayer is – even in the midst of our busy, messy, tangled lives. For when it comes to prayer, we needn’t necessarily do it perfectly, just faithfully.

– Kelley Holy

Novena to Mary, Undoer of Knots7

 Daily Opening Prayers:

  1. Begin each day of the Novena to Mary, Undoer of Knots, with the Sign of the Cross.
  2. Make an Act of Contrition. You can use any form; simply ask God to pardon your sins and make a firm purpose of amendment not to commit them again.
  3. Optional, but recommended: Pray the first three decades of the Rosary, with the appropriate mysteries for the day: Joyful (Mondays, Saturdays, Sundays of Advent, and Sundays from Epiphany until Lent), Luminous (Thursdays), Sorrowful (Tuesdays, Fridays, and daily from Ash Wednesday until Easter), Glorious (Wednesdays & Sundays).
  4. Make the meditation for the particular day (as follows).
  5. Pray Closing Prayers below.

Meditation for the First Day of the Novena to Mary, Undoer of Knots

Dearest Holy Mother, Most Holy Mary, you undo the knots that suffocate your children. Extend your merciful hands to me. I entrust to You today this knot [mention your request here] and all the negative consequences that it provokes in my life. I give you this knot that torments me and makes me unhappy and so impedes me from uniting myself to You and Your Son Jesus, my Savior. 
I run to You, Mary, Undoer of Knots, because I trust you and I know that you never despise a sinning child who comes to ask you for help. I believe that you can undo this knot because Jesus grants you everything. I believe that you want to undo this knot because you are my Mother. I believe that You will do this because you love me with eternal love. Thank you, Dear Mother.

Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for me.

* See Closing Prayers below.

Meditation for the Second Day of the Novena to Mary, Undoer of Knots

Mary, Beloved Mother, channel of all grace, I return to You today my heart, recognizing that I am a sinner in need of your help. Many times I lose the graces you grant me because of my sins of egoism, pride, rancor and my lack of generosity and humility. I turn to You today, Mary, Undoer of knots, for You to ask your Son Jesus to grant me a pure, divested, humble and trusting heart. I will live today practicing these virtues and offering you this as a sign of my love for You. I entrust into Your hands this knot [mention your request here] which keeps me from reflecting the glory of God.

Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for me.

* See Closing Prayers below.

Meditation for the Third Day of the Novena to Mary, Undoer of Knots

Meditating Mother, Queen of heaven, in whose hands the treasures of the King are found, turn your merciful eyes upon me today. I entrust into your holy hands this knot in my life [mention your request here] and all the rancor and resentment it has caused in me. I ask Your forgiveness, God the Father, for my sin. Help me now to forgive all the persons who consciously or unconsciously provoked this knot. Give me, also, the grace to forgive me for having provoked this knot. Only in this way can You undo it. Before You, dearest Mother, and in the name of Your Son Jesus, my Savior, who has suffered so many offenses, having been granted forgiveness, I now forgive these persons [mention their names here] and myself, forever. Thank you, Mary, Undoer of Knots for undoing the knot of rancor in my heart and the knot, which I now present to you. Amen.

Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for me.

* See Closing Prayers below.

Meditation for the Fourth Day of the Novena to Mary, Undoer of Knots

Dearest Holy Mother, you are generous with all who seek you, have mercy on me. I entrust into your hands this knot which robs the peace of my heart, paralyzes my soul and keeps me from going to my Lord and serving Him with my life. 
Undo this knot in my love [mention your request here], O Mother, and ask Jesus to heal my paralytic faith, which gets downhearted with the stones on the road. Along with you, dearest Mother, may I see these stones as friends. Not murmuring against them anymore but giving endless thanks for them, may I smile trustingly in your power.

Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for me.

* See Closing Prayers below.

Meditation for the Fifth Day of the Novena to Mary, Undoer of Knots

Mother, Undoer of Knots, generous and compassionate, I come to You today to once again entrust this knot [mention your request here] in my life to you and to ask the divine wisdom to undo, under the light of the Holy Spirit, this snarl of problems. No one ever saw you angry; to the contrary, your words were so charged with sweetness that the Holy Spirit was manifested on your lips. Take away from me the bitterness, anger, and hatred which this knot has caused me. Give me, O dearest Mother, some of the sweetness and wisdom that is all silently reflected in your heart. And just as you were present at Pentecost, ask Jesus to send me a new presence of the Holy Spirit at this moment in my life. Holy Spirit, come upon me!

Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for me.

* See Closing Prayers below.

Meditation for the Sixth Day of the Novena to Mary, Undoer of Knots

Queen of Mercy, I entrust to you this knot in my life [mention your request here] and I ask you to give me a heart that is patient until you undo it. Teach me to persevere in the living word of Jesus, in the Eucharist, the Sacrament of Confession; stay with me and prepare my heart to celebrate with the angels the grace that will be granted to me. Amen! Alleluia!

Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for me.

* See Closing Prayers below.

Meditation for the Seventh Day of the Novena to Mary, Undoer of Knots

Mother Most Pure, I come to You today to beg you to undo this knot in my life [mention your request here] and free me from the snares of evil. God has granted you great power over all the demons. I renounce all of them today, every connection I have had with them, and I proclaim Jesus as my one and only Lord and Savior. Mary, Undoer of Knots, crush the Evil One’s head and destroy the traps he has set for me by this knot. Thank you, dearest Mother. Most Precious Blood of Jesus, free me!

Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for me.

* See Closing Prayers below.

Meditation for the Eighth Day of the Novena to Mary, Undoer of Knots

Virgin Mother of God, overflowing with mercy, have mercy on your child and undo this knot [mention your request here] in my life. I need your visit to my life, like you visited Elizabeth. Bring me Jesus, bring me the Holy Spirit. Teach me to practice the virtues of courage, joyfulness, humility, and faith, and, like Elizabeth, to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Make me joyfully rest on your bosom, Mary. I consecrate you as my mother, queen, and friend. I give you my heart and everything I have—my home and family, my material and spiritual goods. I am yours forever. Put your heart in me so that I can do everything Jesus tells me.

Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for me.

* See Closing Prayers below.

Meditation for the Ninth Day of the Novena to Mary, Undoer of Knots

Most Holy Mary, our Advocate, Undoer of Knots, I come today to thank you for undoing this knot in my life.

[Mention your request here]

You know very well the suffering it has caused me. Thank you for coming, Mother, with your long fingers of mercy to dry the tears in my eyes; you receive me in your arms and make it possible for me to receive once again the divine grace. Mary, Undoer of Knots, dearest Mother, I thank you for undoing the knots in my life. Wrap me in your mantle of love, keep me under your protection, enlighten me with your peace! Amen.

Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for me.

* See Closing Prayers below.

Closing Prayers:

Optional, but recommended: Pray the last two decades of the rosary, with the appropriate mysteries for the day: Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious.

Pray the Prayer to Mary, Undoer of Knots:

Prayer to Mary, Undoer of Knots

Virgin Mary, Mother of fair love, Mother who never refuses to come to the aid of a child in need, Mother whose hands never cease to serve your beloved children because they are moved by the divine love and immense mercy that exists in your heart, cast your compassionate eyes upon me and see the snarl of knots that exist in my life.  You know very well how desperate I am, my pain, and how I am bound by these knots. Mary, Mother to whom God entrusted the undoing of the knots in the lives of his children, I entrust into your hands the ribbon of my life. No one, not even the Evil One himself, can take it away from your precious care. In your hands there is no knot that cannot be undone. Powerful Mother, by your grace and intercessory power with Your Son and My Liberator, Jesus, take into your hands today this knot.

[Mention your request here]

I beg you to undo it for the glory of God, once for all. You are my hope. 
O my Lady, you are the only consolation God gives me, the fortification of my feeble strength, the enrichment of my destitution, and, with Christ, the freedom from my chains. 
Hear my plea. 
Keep me, guide me, protect me, o safe refuge!

Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for me.

Amen.

_________________________________

1 Rocco Palmo, “The Great Untier – For Francis, There’s Something About Mary,” Whispers in the Loggia [Weblog]; 13 October 2013; available from http://whispersintheloggia.blogspot.ca/2013/10/the-great-untier-for-francis-theres.html; Internet; accessed 3 November 2014.

2 Mary O’Regan, “Two moments awakened in Pope Francis a deep devotion to Our Lady,” Catholic Herald [online newspaper]; available fromhttp://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2014/05/19/two-moments-awakened-in-pope-francis-a-deep-devotion-to-our-lady/; Internet; accessed 4 November 2014.

3 Saint Irenaeus stated: “The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by the obedience of Mary; what the virgin Eve bound by her unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosened by her faith” (Adversus Haereses, III, 22, 4).

4 Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, 56; available from http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19641121_lumen-gentium_en.html; Internet; accessed 4 November 2014.

5 Paul Vallely, Pope Francis Untying the Knots (Bloomsbury: 2013), x. The author also relates a story about the history the icon. Apparently it was commissioned in 1700 after the marriage of a Bavarian nobleman and his wife was saved through Our Lady’s intercession.

6 From Pray More Novenas website; available from http://www.praymorenovenas.com/mary-undoer-knots-novena/; Internet; accessed 7 November 2014.

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