Did you start off 2014 by making some new year’s resolutions? If so, that’s great, and by all means keep it up. But if not, don’t let that become a reason to beat yourself up. Instead, think about how you’ve actually made positive changes in your life. All of us have improved in some area at some time in our lives. Usually we do that when we have enough motivation. As a rule, we don’t change because we made resolutions but because we have to respond to the demands of life.
Those demands can sometimes tie us into knots, figuratively speaking. During this past year we were all surprised when Francis became pope. One of the new things about him is that he has promoted devotion to Mary under a novel title: Our Lady, Undoer of Knots. He had seen a painting of Mary in which she is patiently undoing knots in a long rope full of them. This title is actually based on a long-standing comparison of Eve and Mary. Whereas Eve along with Adam tied the knot of original sin in our lives, Mary undid it by her obedience to God.
Recently I made this new novena, entrusting to Mary a special intention that had had me in “knots,” so to speak, for the past half year. I made one novena and started a second, and by the middle of the second one I had received the favor I was asking for. It surprised me and has made me want to pay more attention to Mary’s power of intercession.
So here’s one suggestion if you would like to have a better year: if there are some knots in your life, entrust them to Mary. Give them to her and she will either undo them herself or show you what to do about it. You could use the prayer composed by Pope Francis:
Holy Mary, full of God's presence during the days of your life,
you accepted with full humility the Father's will,
and the Devil was never able to tie you around with his confusion.
Once with your son you interceded for our difficulties,
and, full of kindness and patience you gave us an example of how to untie the knots of our life.
By remaining forever Our Mother,
you put in order, and make more clear the ties that link us to the Lord.
Holy Mother, Mother of God, and our Mother,
who untie with a motherly heart the knots of our life, we pray to you to receive in your hands (the name of person),
and to free him/her of the knots and confusion with which our enemy attacks.
Through your grace, your intercession, and your example,
deliver us from all evil, Our Lady, and untie the knots that prevent us from being united with God,
so that we, free from sin and error, may find him in all things, may have our hearts placed in him, and may serve him always in our brothers and sisters. Amen.
For a longer novena, see:
Sr. Marianne Lorraine, FSP