Lets face it ... life is complicated and messy - some may say full of knots ... some may think these knots are determined and stuck in their lives - that they are undoable .... Think again! Our Blessed Mother is on the case ...
What Knots you ask?
The knots in our lives are endless and some we may knot even know about. Marriage troubles; illness; loneliness; money worries; family feuds; unemployment; worries of all kinds. Devotion to Our Lady undoer of knots is a beautiful and unfailing way to undo these knots for us and "better unite with God and serve him always" in the words of Pope Francis -
Pope Francis has brought this devotion to the masses - pardon the pun - much to my own delight as this devotion was brought to my attention around 2 years ago by a wonderful friend of mine who supplies me with Rosary Making Materials. As this devotion ripples across the Catholic Population and ... I am pretty certain Our Blessed Mother is working on those of other faiths and none also.. The devotion has been in wider circulation over the last 30 years and I am sure will continue to grow rather than shrink into the obscurity it was once almost in.
So Where this devotion come from?
Devotion to our Blessed Mother certainly isnt new - and there are a variety of ways in which they come about but always, I am certain, they are gently whispered into the heart by the Holy Spirit in order to allow the Blessed Mother to hold the hands of the faithful in their journey closer to knowing her Son, Jesus Christ. So devotions reach us through apparitions (Fatima, Lourdes, La Salette, Knock); Doctrine (e.g the Immaculate Conception, Perpetual Virginity, Mother of God); Statues and Icons (Guadalupe) and also hrough Sacramentals - the Rosary, the dolour Rosary, the Miraculous Medal etc). There are many ways in which the gentle kisses of our Blessed Mother can reach our heart.
The original devotion to Mary Undoer of knots dates back to 1612 - Wolfegang Langenmante (a German Nobleman) and his wife Sophie were in an unhappy marriage on the brink of divorce. Wolfegang sought advice from a Jesuit Priest, Fr Jakob Rem. At this time a bride and groom were tied together (quite literally) in their wedding ceremony with a ribbon, this symbolised the unbreakable union between man and wife. At their last visit to Fr Rem,Wolfegang handed over his wedding ribbon to the Priest, who held up the ribbon to an image of "Our Lady of the snows" and whilst undoing the knots in the ribbon said the prayer : "I raise up the bond of marriage, that all knots be loosed and resolved". The unknotted ribbon became bright white (this was a sign of Mary's intercession) and the marriage of wolfegang and Sophie survived.
You can find the unfailing Novena to Our Lady undoer of knots here
Why has Pope Francis plucked this devotion from relative obscurity?
This has been a devotion of Pope Francis' since his studies in Germany in 1986 for his PhD. Whilst visiting St Peter am Perlach Church in Augsburg he saw the painting and was drawn to it and the story behind it. you can see part of the image above, it depicts two angels and Our Blessed Mother along with the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove. One angel hands Mary the knotted Ribbon whilst another smooths the unknotted ribbon after it passes through the hands of Mary. Mary is standing on a crescent moon with a serpent being crushed under her feet (Rev 12:1).
Fr Jorge Bergoglio bought a postcard of the image and as a Cardinal had it engraved into a Chalice he gifted to hiss predecessor Pope Benedict XVI.
The Novena to Our Lady Undoer of knots is often known as the Unfailing Novena... I agree with this.
However, a devotion in itself isnt a magic wand. the remedy comes from our trust in the ability of Our Blessed Mother to intercede for us before God, AND our own Faith in God to Answer our prayers.
As I tell our Children and many others who ask about my devotion to the Rosary - Jesus listens to His Mother... why would I not ask her to help me communicate with Him!