With seven children ambling on two feet each, I’ve fumbled over countless knots. “Here, mommy, can you get this knot out,” ask the littlest ones as they hand me their shoes with laces in a tangled mess. How easily a misplaced twist or mis-pulled string can create a puzzling weave.
Sometimes life can feel like those knotted laces, our trials may seem endless and our abilities restricted. Some small cross has turned end over end and created a dilemma that feels unfixable. Perhaps, we tug here and pull through there only to discover that our will has created a tighter knot.
Saint Irenaeus, in meditation, made a comparison between Eve and the Blessed Mother. Eve, by her disobedience to God, had tied the knots of sin and sorrow for the whole human race, but Mary, through her total obedience untied the knots. The saint’s meditation became the inspiration for an 18th century painter, Johann Melchior Georg Schmittdner, who delicately and lovely depicted the scene of Mary untying a long rope handed to her by angels.
Pope Francis happened upon the painting as a student in Germany and developed a devotion to Our Lady under the title. He carried this devotion back home with him and today Mary, Undoer of Knots, holds widespread popularity in Argentina and Brazil.
So, if you are struggling with knots in your life, perhaps your marriage is in trouble, your children are falling away from their faith, your finances are too short, etc. then turn to your Mama and hand her your knotted up life. Surely, this good Mother will happily accept your offering and lead you to the straightened road.