By Kathryn Hyland, our Art Contributor
Knots can be a daily annoyance often overlooked because they are typically a small matter compared to the rest of our tangled lives. We get knots in our back from hunching over the computer, knots in our hair from windy weather, knots in our rosaries thrown in our purse, knots in our favorite necklace. But so what, it's not a big deal right? Those types of knots may not matter much, but did you know we often have knots in our spiritual lives as well? Knots in our spiritual life can cause great pain and heartache because they prevent us from a close union with Our Lord.
Sometimes we cause the knots ourselves through sin or poor decisions, and sometimes people in our lives cause the knots that burden us and hinder our relationship with our Holy. Knots can be anything from an addiction to that heartache that just won't seem to go away. Relationships, anxieties, financial stress...the list can go on. How then, are we supposed to untie them? How are we to find healing? How can we break through these traps the devil has set for us in order to walk freely with Our Lord?
There is an answer to these questions because God is a God of mercy and He wants us to find healing and He wants us to run to Him in our weaknesses. Our Lord always hears the prayers of His mother and His mother can help us heal with the least amount of pain. She can untie the knots in our heart through the Unfailing Novena to Our Lady Undoer of Knots (Pope Francis' favorite novena).
The history behind this novena goes back to an incredible painting by Johann George Melchior Schmidtner around 1700. A German nobleman named Wolfgang was desperate to save his marriage from divorce. He took his and his wife's wedding ribbon (a symbol of marital union) and sought advice from a well respected Priest, named Fr. Rem. The Priest held the ribbon up to an image of Our Lady of the Snows while he slowly and solemnly untied the knots. When he finished, the ribbon became sparkling white and Wolfgang's marriage was saved. Wolfgang's grandson hired Johann Schmidtner to provide a painting for a private family altar. Schmidtner was inspired by the story of Wolfgang and the ribbon and therefore, based his painting around it.
I have experienced the powerful effects of this novena in my life throughout the past year. It is definitely not a new devotion but is growing in popularity because of Pope Francis' promotion. The novena consists of a rosary said along with specific prayers which can be found here, and because of this novena is rooted in marital complications, it is a particularly powerful devotion for women with relational trials. Pray this novena with faith and hope for anything troubling in your life. Our Lady will take care of it.
Our Lady Undoer of Knots, pray for us!