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  • Writer's pictureC. J. Parke

Behold, your Mother: Our Lady Undoer of Knots

While this may seem an odd way to start a reflection about Our Lady Undoer of Knots, I want to first mention a statue of Mary with a baby Jesus at my former parish that used to give me a slight sense of dread whenever I would sit in the section of pews facing it. Because of my own knots of anger, guilt and hurt that were (and still can be found) twisting up my soul and sense of self due to my infertility and other issues, seeing images of Mary pregnant or with an infant Jesus always set me on edge. This poor statue of Mary and I had weekly stare-downs as I tried to let the knots undo themselves and then quickly tie them back up as yet another growing family shuffled into the pew in front of me. Reflecting on this now, I realize how silly it appears to be, but I was often as angry at Our Lady as I was at her son. Why was she not pleading hard enough for her son to help fix the issues I needed to be resolved, or for the problems of the world far beyond my small corner of the DMV area? If Mother Mary had the honor of being called “Undoer of Knots”, it certainly seemed like she was not in a hurry to untangle the messes in my life.

So yes, you could say my relationship with our Mother and her title of “Undoer of Knots” was… complicated to say the least. But of course, Mary (and her son) were slowly but surely pulling at the complicated tangles that resided in my soul. When one job offer doesn’t work out, then allow Mary and God to untangle that knot by kind coworkers and/or friends who can support you through resume critiques or sending your information to people they may know. When medical scares happen, maybe Mary can loosen the knots of worry or sickness by placing you with doctors and nurses who help understand your condition, or lead you to support systems of people who have gone through the same conditions. She’s in the close friend who has Mass offered for you after the loss of a grandparent or on the day of a surgery. In those times of emotional and physical hardship, it’s hard to see the gentle tugs of Momma Mary working on the knots when they’re in tune with the pangs of grief, worry, doubt and pain that you’re going through.

And of course the one knot that all of us at the Fruitful Hollow are painfully aware of, no matter how it looks, is infertility. Maybe it’s endometriosis, maybe it’s miscarriage, maybe it’s having no eggs, or maybe it’s male factor infertility. Any way that knot has formed, it’s one of the most painful things to have to try and not allow it to become so big that it entangles everything else. And when there is no treatment, or you have to take yet another medication or try another surgery and hope, it feels like Mary is yet again letting the knot grow instead of shrink. But sisters, again Our Lady and her son have not abandoned us. Hopefully you have a support system of family, friends, networks like the Fruitful Hollow or other faith-based groups, and a good medical team as well. So while you may not see Mary’s hands themselves, you can see your spouse or boyfriend bring you your favorite ice cream without asking and cuddle on the couch after another pregnancy announcement, or a friend checking in after a medical appointment. It’s the meal trains after a loved one’s death, or your partner telling you you're beautiful after having surgery that leaves scars you struggle to look at. And how often have you done the same things for others? Or helped out coworkers or volunteered and seen how your work has impacted others? And don’t those knots feel less tight after moments like those?

Sisters, Our Lady is undoing those knots through the words and actions of those around us, gently tugging away, piece by piece, in God’s time. We just need to be open to seeing the human hands she is using around us to help in the undoing process. So that way you too can stop having staring contests with the Mary statue and instead let Our Lady hold you close as a beloved daughter. Our Lady Undoer of Knots, pray for us.


If you'd like to find out more about the devotion to Our Lady Undoer of Knots visit here.

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