Whenever I find an old chain necklace, full of knots, I don't even bother trying to untangle them. I just give it to my husband who seems to be able to do it with an uncanny ease. I really hate unknotting things, so today as I breezed by the end of a show on EWTN, I was stunned by yet another title for Mary. She, who has been given every title and talent grace can imagine, is sometimes referred to as Our Lady, Undoer of Knots. This title originated from an amazing painting found centuries ago of her among angels, her slender fingers entwined in loop after loop of a long silken ribbon She was undoing the knots in the endless strand and returning it effortlessly to its original flow and sheer beauty, rendering it useful once more.
As this image struck me, I wished there was a way I could engage with this power of hers. Then, happily, the program referred to a novena, a traditional prayer form based on the nine days of prayer led by Mary after her son's death. She and the apostles gathered together in the upper room to pray as one. Rushing to my faithful friend, Google, I uncovered the meditations of this novena and started it immediately. I prayed it for the first two days in the early morning and today in the car.
I really felt the Spirit's kindness led me to hear about this help just when I needed it most. As some of you know, my life has recently become entangled, my heart wrenched in knots over some very serious circumstances in my beloved family. After doing all I can to untangle the situation, bringing every ounce of my perfectionistic energy to bear, I am beginning to accept that there is absolutely no more I can do to fix things, no matter how hard I try - a perfect time to give this precious chain of knots to the one who has been given the gift of freeing my spirit from such bondage.
In today's session, my counselor referred me to spiritual direction because she said that what I have arrived at is a spiritual crossroads. I have come to the terminal, the end of my spiral. I had been around and around this same pole so often and wound my soul so tightly shut around impossible circumstances, choking out any breathing space. She suggested that this was blocking my relationship with the only one Who could really comfort me. I needed to get some air, a lot of air. I need to loosen my choke on the ghost, the ghost of control and truly SURRENDER, the S word of the H-O-S-T.
H for humility, O for obedience, and today, S for surrender. This message comes just in time because now I have the image of Mary untying knots and giving me back my ribbon, whole and smooth and long. This ribbon represents my prayer life, my connection and daily communion with Christ. The knots are a kink in the hose of our freely flowing conversation; they stop the flush of the Spirit into my daily life. Mary is helping to restore our union with her nimble fingers.
The ribbon also represents my son's struggles, the complicated knots in his young life. Mary, help of Christians, as she is also known, will rescue whom her Son suffered for. No mother would let her son hurt in vain, not Mary of all mothers. We too are her children and she does not want us to suffer any sorrows in vain. She, along with her son, just like at the wedding feast, will bring out the best..in the end. Just as she saved the embarrassment of the bride and groom at Cana, she will smooth the way by drawing her Son's power our way.
A NOTE ABOUT SURRENDER: Surrender does not mean giving up, and never does it mean giving up to the enemy as in human war terms. Here surrender is giving back, giving back to the Victor, what is already His. It is giving back by letting go of the tugging, the turning, the twisting, the churning, the knotting of the piece of rope that we have been given.for a while. Yes, He allows us some rope, may be a lot of rope, but when it is time to let the rope go, we must do so, so He can reel it in to Himself. Sometimes the rope is so snarled, Mary is called upon to untie the knots, one at a time, so as to smooth and make swift the journey back.
A NOTE ABOUT THE ICON This icon of Mary was painted to reveal Mary's intervention in untying the many knots created by the heresies that were hurting the Church centuries ago. When prayed as a novena, endless testimonies have given witness to the power of Mary's intercession in helping dysfunctional family situations as well as many other prayer requests.