Mary, Mother of God, Untie our Knots

In his most recent Viewpoint column, Msgr. Francis Mannion calls “Mary Undoer of Knots” (Maria Knotenlöserin) the “best new papal Marian devotion.” In the days of passing from 2013 to 2014, members of the Pray Tell family are sharing what particular knots they hope Our Lady can help untie in 2014. (See earlier submissions by Paul Ford and Paul Inwood and by Diana Macalintal and by Peter Rehwaldt and Teresa Berger.) Today, on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, we conclude the series with a guest post by Bernadette Gasslein, editor of Worship magazine, which offers a “decade” of prayers to Mary.

Mary, undoer of knots, help us break the knot of fear: it strangles the hearts of children who live daily with gunfire on their streets; of women who endure rape in war-torn cities and countrysides; of starving men and women who watch their children grow hungrier each day; of soldiers, aid workers and first responders whose daily battle with PTSD haunts their waking hours and turns their dreams into nightmares.

Mary, undoer of knots, help us untie the knot of addictions that consume persons and families: addictions to alcohol, drugs, sex, spending, work, food.

Mary, undoer of knots, help us unbind the knot of illiteracy and lack of education, particularly for women and girls.

Mary, undoer of knots, help us untie the knot of hiding. So many of my brothers and sisters are hiding: the divorced and remarried couples who have succumbed to their longing for Eucharist and dare not divulge their status; the gay and lesbian persons who are frightened that someone will out them in a community that doesn’t know what to make of them; the women who fear even to discuss their call to orders.

Mary, undoer of knots, help us untie the knot of distrust that erodes global and intimate relationships, and alienates friends, spouses, parents and children, pastors and people, leaders of communities and their constituencies.

Mary, undoer of knots, help us untie the knots of illness, physical and mental, that afflict so many in our communities.

Mary, undoer of knots, help us untie the knots of homelessness and poverty, of despair, and meaninglessness. Help us re-weave the broken bonds that lead to loneliness and isolation.

Mary, undoer of knots, help us untie the knots of dispossession and loss of identity that are destroying the aboriginal people of my land.

Mary, undoer of knots, help us untie the knots of excommunication: of thoughtful people, young and old, who must hide their questions about the status quo – be it religious or political – lest they be shunned; the women and men who have had abortions and cannot speak their reality lest they be ostracized; of those whose actions make them fear that they are beyond God’s mercy and ours.

Mary, undoer of knots, help us untie the knot of consumerism that distorts our desire for God and for each other.


  1. It appears that the Holy Father has unleashed a renewal of devotion to the Mother of God greater than even Bl. JP II could have imagined. It’s admirable and encouraging to see prayers, petitions, and very personal desires poured-out to her on here. Considering the first thing he did on the day after his election was to visit and venerate her holy icon, it seems like his leading by example is really catching on. I’m guessing that this image of Our Lady will begin appearing in parish churches everywhere.

    “Mary’s deep relationship with the Eucharist can guide the faithful and allow people to get closer to God. She is the ‘model of the bond between the Lord and his bride, the Church, between God and each man.’” —Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio

  2. John, help me out a bit:
    1. Could you expound more upon the BVM’s “deep relationship with the Eucharist”?
    2. The “model of the bond” sounds a lot like the “mediatrix” controversy a couple of decades ago w/ JPII.

    I get HFF’s symbiology, but isn’t that theology deficient simply due to the reality of the incarnation of God? Just asking, I don’t even play a theologian on TV.

    1. @Charles Culbreth – comment #2:
      I wouldn’t dare to explain what the future Holy Father meant when he made this statement at the Eucharistic Congress. He speaks quite well for himself and I’ll bet if you emailed him to ask him about, he’d probably email you back. I’ve heard he does that sort of thing. My >guess< is that since Our Lady is the God-Bearer her relation to Christ within her own body is par-excellent, the example of us receiving Him into our bodies and dwelling in us. I also think that you maybe reading too much into the "model" statement by imposing the Mediatrix pronouncement. Again, her physical union with God made man, should be THE example for the union between Christ and his bride, the Church. Just my thoughts. Again, I am not second guessing what the Holy Father meant. I found that to be a quite inspiring quote from this new Marian pope.

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