It has been more than 300 years since the devotion to Mother of Untying Knots began. Pope Francis confirms that Mother Mary can undo the knots of all the mental, physical difficulties we go through in our lives. The devotion spread because of the graces people received through the intercession of Mother Mary.
Pope Francis does have a special devotion to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots. While studying in Germany in the 1980s, he discovered this devotion at the Church of St. Peter am Perlach in Augsburg. In that church, there is a painting from the year 1700 that depicts Mary in heaven surrounded by angels. She stands on the crescent moon crushing the head of the serpent, Satan. She holds a long ribbon and is untying a large knot on the ribbon. Perhaps the inspiration for this depiction of the Blessed Mother arises from the writing of St. Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons (martyred in 203) in his treatise “Adversus Haereses” (Against Heresies): “Mary, the Virgin, is found to be obedient, saying: ‘Behold, O Lord, your handmaid. Be it done to me according to your word.’ Eve, however, was disobedient; and when yet a virgin, she did not obey. … Having become disobedient, (Eve) was made the cause of death for herself and for the whole human race; so also Mary, betrothed to a man but nevertheless still a virgin, being obedient, was made the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race. Thus, the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. What the virgin Eve had bound in unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosed through faith.”
In the painting the Blessed Virgin Mary depicted standing on the crescent moon, surrounded by angels and with the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove hovering above her circle of stars as she unties knots into a long strip and at the same time rests her foot on the head of a “knotted” snake. The serpent represents the devil, When we surrender our knots of problems to Mother Mary we see her untying the knots of our problems and these knots falling on Satan. The painting shows one angel giving our knots to Mother Mary and Mary untying them peacefully and handing it to another angel. When we surrender our day to day struggles of addiction, financial trouble, marital discord, depression, fear, anxieties, our sinful ways etc. to Mary the Undoer of Knots then Jesus through her intercession will come to our aid. The painting was donated around 1700 by Hieronymus Ambrosius Langenmante a canon of the Monastery of Saint Peter in Augsburg. The donation is said to be connected with an event in his family. His grandfather Wolfgang Langenmantel was on the verge of the separation from his wife Sophia Rentz and therefore sought help from Jakob Rem, the Jesuit priest in Ingolstadt. Father Rem prayed to the Blessed Virgin Mary and said: In this religious act, I raise the bonds of matrimony, to untie all knots and smoothen them.” Immediately peace was restored between the husband and wife, and the separation did not happen. In the memory of this event, their grandson commissioned the painting of the “Untier of Knots”.
Mary our Mother is the spring of eternal love and grace. She knew she will have to undergo humiliation and suffering when she accepted to be the mother of Jesus and our Mother. All the sufferings she undertook transformed into love for us.
Pope Francis has a special connection to this devotion and it holds a very important place in his personal life. The devotion to Mary undoer of Knots is spreading very fast in the Catholic Church and in the whole world. The world is burdened with all kinds of trials, tribulations and sins and mankind is slipping in to a hopeless state. The devotion to Mary Undoer of Knots is the need of the hour in our current times.
Satan with the intention to destroy us presents temptations in the form of knots. Under such circumstances Mother Mary comes to our rescue. By saving baby Jesus from Herod, by saving the family at the wedding in Canna by providing them with wine, and being with the disciples after the crucifixion of Jesus, we see the intercession of Mary in all circumstances of human lives.
Let us surrender all the knots in our lives to Lord Jesus through the intercession of Mary our Mother. Just like she untied the knots at the wedding at Canna, she will untie the knots of problems in our lives too.