On October 12, 2013, “Pope Francis revealed to the world his special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title Our Lady, Undoer of Knots. . . He spoke of Mary as the ‘new Eve’ who unties the knot of Eve’s disobedience.” In May 2014, Marge Fenelon traveled to the Holy Land with the Catholic Press Association as part of Pope Francis’ pilgrimage. At that time, Pope Francis made an “urgent request that we pray for peace” in the Holy Land. In light of recent events, that need is even more acute.
In Our Lady, Undoer of Knots: A Living Novena (Ave Maria Press, 2015), Fenelon combines her experiences and insights while exploring the Holy Land with a novena to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots. The knots that Fenelon discusses include injustice, separation, confusion, hopelessness, grief and loss, discord, betrayal, envy and pride, and affliction. Each chapter begins with a quote from Pope Francis, includes Fenelon’s thoughts, then moves on to a prayer, rosary, and reflection questions. The book is intended to be used for nine days with one chapter being read and prayed each day.
The intent is not only to pray for peace in the Middle East, but also to undo the knots in our own lives. “Conflict doesn’t only occur in the Middle East; it occurs in our own personal lives as well, and even at our dinner tables.” We all need to pray for peace in matters both big and small.
While the novena is designed to tackle a wide range of knots and reading the entire book is highly recommended, one might also choose to pray a novena focusing on the one knot that is causing the most problems in one’s life at that time.
Fenelon also encourages readers to meditate on the image of Our Lady, Undoer of Knots which portrays Mary undoing a ribbon full of knots. The ribbon “represents your life – the life God wants you to live in freedom, holiness, and peace. The ribbon is knotted, and each knot stops you from proceeding on your journey to fulfill God’s will and grow in his grace and mercy. . . Allow yourself to come so close to Our Lady that you could imagine yourself sitting at her feet, watching her untie your knots.” An appendix explains the history of the image and is well-worth reading.
However one uses this book, it is sure to enrich one’s spiritual life. As Fenelon states, “I hope that Our Lady, Undoer of Knots: A Living Novena leads you on a spiritual journey that will deepen your faith, increase your love for our Blessed Mother, and commence the undoing of the knots in your life. Our Lady, Undoer of Knots, pray for us!”
Copyright 2015 Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur
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