One of my favorite things about being a convert to Catholicism, is the constant newness of which I view my faith. In feeling as if I were still in my “baby” years of being a Catholic (OK, do we ever really fully mature?), I often wonder at the new opportunities to learn about the Church, the saints, the mystery, and Mary. The beauty that exudes from Mary is something which has often touched my heart and begged me to dive deeper into learning about all the ways she is ever-faithful to her children. In recent days I have come across a new prayer; one that requires synopsis of it’s history as most have never heard of it.
Pope Francis’ favorite Marian devotion is to “Mary, Undoer of Knots”. Where did this come from? Well, it began with a painting in 1700 AD, in the German city of Perlack. The image of Mary undoing knots (see below) was painted by an unknown artist in the Church of St. Peter. The positioning of this painting, was between that of Adam and St. Peter, thus precisely positioning our Lady in her proper seat. The painting stemmed from a brief meditation written by St. Irenaeous (Bishop of Lyon, 202 AD), and he is quoted as making a comparison of Mary and Eve.
“Eve, by her disobedience, tied the knot of disgrace for the human race; whereas Mary, by her obedience, undid it.”
Simply put, knots are anything that places a divide between you and the love of God. I need not mention the thousands of knots we entangle ourselves with during our lifetime, which we are constantly striving to overcome. Thank God for confession! This beautiful prayer, is Pope Francis’ favorite Marian devotion, and for good reason. As we move closer to Easter and the Resurrection of our Savior, we acknowledge our knots, our sins, and the deaths we experience daily. We can prayerfully ask Mary, our Lady Seat of Wisdom, to untangle these knots which prevent us from experiencing full joy and communion with the Church. May we always look to her and our Father of the Poor, for perpetual help and guidance, knowing of their love for us in Christ.
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.