Today I began the novena for a wonderful and unique Marian devotion to our Mother Mary through the Marian titled of Mary, the Undoer (or Untier) of Knots for a specific Marian Devotion in May. I only learned of Mary, Undoer of Knots a couple of years ago, and I love the idea (and images) of Mary working with the Holy Spirit and the Angels to work on the problems and struggles we face in our daily lives that create knots that suffocate our soul and separate us from God.
Mary, Undoer of Knots is one of Pope Francis’s favorite Marian devotions, and so she has become even more popular amongst Catholics the past couple of years. In October of 2013, Pope Francis shared with the faithful thousands gathered in St. Peter’s Square to celebrate Mary, Pope Francis spoke very specifically about how Mary unties the knots in our lives:
“What was Mary’s faith like? The first aspect of her faith is this: Mary’s faith unties the knot of sin. What does that mean? The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council took up a phrase of Saint Irenaeus, who states that “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”. The “knot” of disobedience, the “knot” of unbelief. When children disobey their parents, we can say that a little “knot” is created… these knots take away our peace and serenity. They are dangerous, since many knots can form a tangle which gets more and more painful and difficult to undo. But we know one thing: nothing is impossible for God’s mercy! Even the most tangled knots are loosened by his grace. And Mary, whose “yes” opened the door for God to undo the knot of the ancient disobedience, is the Mother who patiently and lovingly brings us to God, so that he can untangle the knots of our soul by his fatherly mercy.” (See the full text of his speech here.)
Mary, Undoer of Knots devotion started to show us the mission given to Mary by Jesus. A painting by Johann George Melchior Schmidtner from Germany, dating to about 1700, has been venerated in Germany. The veneration was inspired by St. Irenaeus’ teachings that “Eve, by her disobedience, tied the knot of disgrace for the human race; whereas Mary, by her obedience, undid it”.
If you haven’t picked a particular Marian devotion for May, a month in which we give special honor and attention to our Mother Mary, consider trying the novena to Mary, Undoer of Knots. We all have knots in our lives, or know of knots in the lives of others, so it’s a relatively easy devotion to connect with. You can pray the novena here, or sign-up to receive emails for the novena here.