(A brief note why I felt the Novena is so important to promote…you can find the text for Day 1 lower in the post)
“Eve, by her disobedience, tied the knot of disgrace for the human race; whereas Mary, by Her obedience, undid it…For what the virgin Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the Virgin Mary set free through faith.” Saint Irenaeus, in his writings titled Adversus Haereses (Against Heresies).
I once experienced a situation in which I was totally flummoxed in how to proceed; the result was a tremendous piercing of the heart, all very painful and sad. A large messy misunderstanding arose and the ability to communicate with the other person involved completely disappeared. I wasn’t sure how to pray or even what to pray for, and frankly, it just hurt so much I couldn’t think what to do next. So, like any confused child, I went to my mother for help…our Blessed Mother to be more specific.
As indicated by the great saint above, St. Irenaeus, the role of Our Lady as the one who “unties” the knots in our lives goes way back to the early years of the Church. The “knots” of course can be anything that separates us from God and our fellow man. And in particular those knots that tie up and strangle loving relationships in families and friendships.
The image most closely associated with this devotion was one in the 1700s by an unknown painter. As you can see in the picture, in her hands is a knotted white ribbon, which, with the aid of the angels, she is peacefully untying. All of this is done under the watchful gaze of the Holy Spirit. All the while she is crushing, under her feet, the head of the serpent who’s body is coiled and knotted.
In her booklet, Dr. Suzel Frem Bourgerie’s writes about the knots each of us suffer. “How they suffocate the soul, beat us down, betray the heart’s joy and even the will to continue living.” She goes on to say: “… The Virgin Mary does not want this to continue anymore in your life. She comes to you today for you to give her all these snarls because she will undo them one by one.”
In the personal situation that I cited above, I found great comfort and peace knowing that our Blessed Mother was handling everything . I grew to trust in her loving care for the relationship. She, in turn, has taught me to totally trust her Son in all things That was the first knot she needed to untie for me, now she’s working on the others.