December 8th, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, is also the day that Argentina celebrates the feast of Our Lady Untier of Knots. This devotion is a special favorite for Pope Francis, and this is the day that our Argentinian Pope chose to open the Jubilee of Mercy. Divine Coincidence?
Devotion to Mary Untier (or Undoer) of Knots originated in Germany. It was commissioned for a family altar in honor of Our Lady's intercession preventing the divorce of a 17th-century German couple.
Jorge Bergoglio, while studying in Germany, discovered this 300-year-old painting of Mary and its story. He was struck by the image and the story behind it, and brought the devotion back to Argentina where it spread widely. Since he became Pope Francis, this favorite devotion of his is growing in popularity around the world.
Pope Francis often meets with his guests at the Vatican under this painting of Our Lady Undoer of Knots. He wants to keep her close!
The first reference to Our Lady as an Untier of Knots is attributed to St. Irenaeus. In his ancient text Against Heresies he wrote,
The knot of Eve's disobedience was loosed by Mary's obedience. For what the Virgin Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the Virgin Mary set free through faith."
It is clear from the above quote that it is fitting for Argentina to have chosen the celebration of Our Lady Untier of Knots to coincide with the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, because it is Mary's purity that is the key which allows her to unlock the evil effects of sin.
It is also fitting that our Holy Father has chosen this day to inaugurate the Jubilee Year of Mercy for the universal Church. While he chose this day because it is the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council, this subtle connection with Our Lady Untier of Knots must be a "Divine Coincidence" for a Church which just concluded the World Meeting of Families and the Synod on the Family.
In this Holy Year of Mercy, may Our Lady intercede for us in a special way under her title of "Undoer of Knots" to free us from everything that inhibits us from embracing and imitating the Mercy of God in every aspect of our lives.
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