We have come to the end of May, a month the Catholic church dedicates in a special way to honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary. We are encouraged to reflect not only on Mary’s role as the mother of God, but her role as our own mother as well. During this Year of Mercy, we are also awarded a unique opportunity to understand Mary’s role in bringing us to the mercy of God through the devotion of Pope Francis to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots.
Early in his pontificate, Pope Francis helped to popularize a devotion to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots, depicted in a 17th century painting located in the Church of St. Peter am Perlach, in Augsburg, Bavaria. In 1986, a young Father Bergoglio discovered this unique depiction of the Madonna while studying Theology in Germany. It is thought that the image resonated with him at the time due to the particular challenges he had recently faced as a Jesuit provincial. He took a postcard of the painting back with him to Argentina, and subsequently spread the devotion throughout Argentina and Latin America. As archbishop of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis often attached the image of Our Lady, Undoer of Knots to his correspondence.
In his weekly Catechesis of October 12, 2013, Pope Francis stated that when we do not listen to God, “when we do not follow his will, we do concrete things that demonstrate our lack of trust in him – for that is what sin is – a kind of knot is created deep within us. 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.”
Pope Francis then helps show how Mary leads us to God’s mercy to help the pain caused by the knots of sin: “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.”
This May, let us entrust ourselves to Mary, the mother of our faith, and ask her intercession for the knots of our sins to be untied so that we may be spiritually renewed in God’s mercy.
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 up by the 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… I beg you to undo it for the glory of god, once and 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.