From a Mysterious painting comes a devotion to:
Mary, Undoer of Knots
As Mary once said at a very famous apparition site, "In prayer you shall
perceive the greatest joy -- and the way out of every situation that has no exit."
Think of those words. Don't you often find yourself in a situation that
"has no exit"? How many times have you run into problems that seem to offer no positive
outcome? Have you ever painted yourself into a corner?
There's a fascinating painting that pertains to this and has been venerated
in a church in Perlach, Germany, since 1700. It was painted by an unknown artist and apparently
inspired by a meditation made by St. Irenaeus -- who once said: "Eve, by her disobedience, tied
the knot of disgrace for the human race; to the contrary, Mary, by her obedience, undid it."
There we have it. Mary, Undoer of Knots. Now that's a title for her! Mary,
help when there is no way out. And in fact it is the subject of a little novena pamphlet. As the
pamphlet explains, the image shows Mary with a crown of 12 stars and a fluttering blue mantle. Around
her are angels. Beneath her feet is the serpent -- the one who ensnares and entangles.
The point: when Mary is invoked, she untangles our knots and it is then the
serpent who is tangled (whatever the novena)!
As is also readily observed, one of the angels in the painting holds the
ribbon of your life as Mother calmly and easily goes about straightening out all the knots in it.
A mysterious and beautiful image this is! Usually we think of the knots in
our lives as particular troubling situations, but they are also problems we have had for years,
perhaps deep hurts between husband and wife, anger, resentment, sinful inclinations, the absence of
peace and joy at home.
This, apparently, is where Mary Undoer (or "untier") of Knots comes
A knot can be a son addicted to drugs. It can be alcoholism. It can be guilt.
It can be fear or depression or unemployment.
Ironically, there are those who have claimed a miracle by which rosaries
become entwined as if manufactured together (see below). It occurred at the aforementioned apparition
site. Is this related?
The point is that Mary comes to our aid in many circumstances.
"Knots are original sin and its consequences in all areas of family,
work, and community life," points out this tiny pamphlet. In the painting, we see that while one
angel hands the Blessed Mother a knotted ribbon, another to her right is taking the untangled part and
perhaps preparing to return to earth below with it.
In the darkness of earth is seen a person who is led by an angel to a church
at the top of a mountain. This, says one interpretation, is the Archangel Raphael who accompanies
Tobias to meet Sarah, the one chosen to be his wife. Sarah is unburdened from a great "knot"
which blocks her happiness. "By the mediation of the Archangel Raphael, God unites Sarah to
Tobias, showing us that humility, trust, and faith in God is what moves the Divine Hands in our
lives," says the explanation for the mysterious art. "This extraordinary story is present in
this painting to show us that 'Mary the Undoer of Knots' grants innumerable graces to matrimony and
powerfully intercedes for the reconciliation of families."
When Raphael is involved, there is healing!
Again we hear an echo of the words: "In prayer you shall perceive the
greatest joy and the way out of every situation that has no exit."
Think of it: even when intellectually we can't figure out a resolution or
means of escape, God can turn things around in such a way that there is a sudden opening and there are
angels and we are suddenly saved.
Is the novena infallible, as claimed? Well, perfect faith -- prayer with
perfect faith -- is infallible. That much (with perfect certainty) we can say!