May 11

Mary, Undoer of Knots, prayer

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…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.

Mary, the Mother of God. I remember thinking about her when I was a child – what must it have been like for her at such a young age to have been asked what seems to me an insurmountable task? She couldn’t have known what was being asked of her, could she? As a mother of three myself, I certainly didn’t know the trials that a mother truly yet somehow willingly bears, all for the love of her children. How could she?

Somewhere in those years between childhood and now, I started thinking less about Mary. I was aware of her, even curious about her, but I didn’t really have a devotion to her.

There was even a time I felt like it was wrong to think about Mary. “Why do you Catholics pray to Mary?” someone asked me once. “She’s not God, you know,” they said. And I shied away from her even more.

It was years before I decided I cared what the answer to that question was. And probably a long time before it actually sunk in that we weren’t praying “to” Mary, but praying “with” her, asking her to intercede with her divine grace to Jesus.

“Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin Mary too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.”  — St. Maximilian Kolbe

And it was even more years until I fell full-force into her safe, nurturing arms. Facing a challenging time when my son developed a chronic condition, I began asking Mary to walk beside him when I couldn’t be there myself. Who could love him more than I could? It was then I realized she also was holding me in her loving embrace, a child of God in need of her love and support, a kindred mother who knows like no other what it’s like to worry and weep for her child. I began to talk to her, like a friend, like a mother, like the Mother of God.

When I look back across my life, I see that from my birth, that sweet Gentle Mother weaved a delicate yet durable ribbon so tenderly and mildly into my hair — the ribbon of my life.

A painting of Mary Undoer of Knots hangs within the Knotted Grotto at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia during the World Meeting of Families. The project, led by local artist Meg Saligman, invites visitors to write their prayer intentions on the white strips and then tie them to the structure. (CNS photo/Carley Mossbrook)

I have snarled and jumbled and scrambled and twisted that soft, sinuous ribbon into a mess of unruly tangles and webs. And at my simple request, Mary, undoer of knots, comes along, through her intercession to Jesus, and tirelessly, patiently, painstakingly, unravels the chaos, confusion, clutter, sin, I’ve bound up in the ribbon of my life.

“So your strength is failing you? Why don’t you tell your mother about it? . . . Mother! Call her with a loud voice. She is listening to you; she sees you in danger, perhaps, and she—your holy mother Mary — offers you, along with the grace of her son, the refuge of her arms, the tenderness of her embrace . . . and you will find yourself with added strength for the new battle.”— St. Josemaria Escriva

Another friend encouraged my bond with the Blessed Mother. “Ask Mary to help. She always points to her Son,” she told me. Like the imagined ribbon still tethered to my hair and kinked with signs where knots used to be, Mary binds me close to her Son, marked with scars where his wounds used to be.

Even now, I close my eyes and imagine myself as a blissful child, her hands never ceasing to peacefully caress my hair, the ribbon flowing carefree in the wind. I see her freely letting me go — to run and laugh and play in the sunshine, both of us knowing she will be there waiting when I need her again. And I will.

“Let us run to Mary, and, as her little children, cast ourselves into her arms with a perfect confidence.” — St. Francis de Sales

Kristi Anderson is a multimedia reporter and blog coordinator for The Central Minnesota Catholic magazine.




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