We had our first afternoon of our Lenten Retreat last Sunday, February 22, 2015. Many of the people who attended mentioned that it was a beautiful and prayerful time. At our weekend masses, we also distributed pamphlets explaining the devotion, along with an associated prayer. You will find more of those throughout the church if you missed getting one. I wanted to share some of our activities described at the first session of the retreat for those who did not attend on Sunday afternoon.
You have probably noticed we have a print of the painting of Our Lady Undoer of Knots displayed in our Church during Lent. In it, two angels stand out. One of them holds on to a ribbon, the ribbon of our life, which is full of knots big and small, loose and tight. They are the knots in our life. These knots are symbolic of the problems and struggles we face in life, and particularly those issues for which we don’t see any solution. They are knots of discord in our families, misunderstandings between parents and children, knots tied by disrespect, violence, or apathy; and the knots of deep hurts between a husband and wife, the absence of peace in a home. They are the knots of anguish and despair of separated couples, families that have been torn apart, and the knots of a son or daughter addicted to drugs, children who are sick or separated from home or from God, the knots of alcoholism, abortion, depression, illness, unemployment, fear, and loneliness. The knots can come from within us or outside of us; they can be physical, spiritual, or mental. We each can think of a knot in our own life or the life of someone dear to us for which there seems to be no solution. They suffocate the soul, beat us down, and try to rob us of our joy. And the worst of these knots are those that do their best to separate us from God. The worst of these knots is ultimately sin.
In the painting, Mary Undoer of Knots undoes the knots in the ribbon of our life through her intercession. It is though God’s special grace and Mary’s cooperation with it that we see in the painting that Mary crushes the head of the serpent, and undoes the knots in our lives.
And so to give us something to assist our prayer this Lent, we have a basket of cords at the foot of our Blessed Mother statue in our narthex. You can take an “un-knotted” cord and tie a knot into it, or more than one knot. Throughout this Lent, we will have baskets labeled “knotted” and “un-knotted”. You can keep your knotted cord with you, in your purse, pocket, or use it as a bookmark and use it during prayer. At any time during Lent, you can place your knotted cord into the basket marked knotted and take an unknotted cord to pray in thanksgiving for healing or if the Holy Spirit leads you.
Also, during each week of Lent, we will untie one of the knots on our artwork in sanctuary to symbolize the knots that are being undone in our lives.
You all remain in my prayers during this Holy Season of Lent. Mary Undoer of Knots, pray for us!