Monday 25 May 2020

Our Lady, Untier of Knots - Miguel Cuartero Samperi - CTS Devotions

Our Lady, Untier of Knots:
Story of a Marian Devotion
Miguel Cuartero Samperi
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860829017
eISBN 9781784694951
CTS Booklet D769

Over the last few years I have read over 150 books from the Catholic Truth Society. There have been many wonderful reads. And this was a volume is one of them. It is part history, and part novena. Originally published in Italian in 2013, the book was translated into English in 2014, and the eBook was released in 2017. I believe it is the only work by Miguel Cuartero Samperi available in English and it might be the only book he has written. You can easily read this volume from cover to cover in an afternoon. An, in fact, I read it in a single sitting, and am currently going back through and doing the novena. The description of the volume is:

“During his studies in Germany, Pope Francis encountered a local devotion centred on an image of Our Lady in the Church of St Peter in Augsburg. Many had come to pray with seemingly irresolvable family and marriage problems and had been helped. On his return to Argentina he set about spreading this devotion and its novena. This booklet gives a brief history of the devotion and the main prayers to Our Lady Untier of Knots.” 

There are 4 main sections in this volume:

Prayers to Our Lady Untier of Knots
The Novena

The forward begins with these words from Radolo Selvadagi Auxiliary Bishop of Rome:

“Praying to the Mother of the Lord is an essential part of the Catholic faith.

It is one of the first ways we learn to pray as children. The thousands of paintings and sculptures which depict the relationship between the child Jesus and his Mother inspire feelings of tender affection in the person who turns in trust to Mary, Mother of the Christian and Mother of the Church.”

And further along:

“Marian devotion has as many faces as there are images of Mary that the faithful venerate, whether in great shrines in parish churches, in small chapels, or even in alcoves at the corners of buildings in cities and towns.”

And that forward ends with these words:

“Also distinctive is the spiritual aspect of the devotion, vigorously highlighted by the then-Cardinal Bergoglio, who advised his flock to turn to Mary in order to gain a crystalline clarity in their faith in Jesus, free from such obstacles as frailty, fear, misery, selfishness that prevent us loving Jesus with a free, serene, and trusting spirit.”

It is it a wonderful devotion. And prayer. Even in my days when I was furthest from my Catholic faith, I often turned to Mary. We are told in the History chapter:

“The devotion to “Mary Untier of Knots” emerged in Germany at the beginning of the 17th century. Historical data is scarce, and not very detailed. Essentially it is a story not of a Marian apparition, but of the everyday life of a family that bears witness to the great effectiveness of prayer addressed to Mary, mediatrix of grace for mankind.”

The story of the ribbon becoming untied during a time of prayer is deeply moving. We are told:

“Often selfishness means man lives for himself alone, and this renders him incapable of opening up to another, in order to give himself completely to them. Hence the need for “moral miracles”. Christ, “our Peace,” makes forgiveness and full communion possible, by breaking down the wall of separation that is raised between people.”

And about the painting:

“The image of Mary intent on untying the knots cannot help but recall the expression of St Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons (who died in the year 202). In his treatise Against the Heresies, St Irenaeus affirmed: “The knot of Eve’s disobedience found a solution through the obedience of Mary. That which Eve had bound by her incredulity, Mary untied by her faith” (Adv. Haer. 3, 22, 4; cf. CCC 494). We can speculate that the author of the painting was inspired by the words of the holy father of the Church, even if there is no evidence of a direct connection with the patristic text.”

We are reminded that we all have knots in our life. Knots we have tied and knows we have allowed the words and actions of others to tie for us. What this devotion does is helps us turn to our mother Mary, and ask her to help untie those knots in our lives. I think of the times my own children have come to me with a tangled yoyo string, a knotted necklace, or other instances. And their joy as I work out the knots one by one until the whole is unravelled. That is What Mary will do for us and in us.

“Mary untier of knots is therefore invoked above all for family problems: marital crises, incomprehension, infidelity, separations and divisions between spouses, problems of every kind with the children, disputes between siblings, risky pregnancies, violence in the family, illnesses, work problems and other kinds of difficult situations that, like small and large knots to be untied, make family life a cluster of tangles.”

Almost half of the book is the history of the devotion. There are a few pages of prayers and then the novena. The novena is done during a time of praying the rosary. You recite the first three decades of the Rosary do the meditation for the day and then the final 2 decades.

A wonderful little volume that I highly recommend.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

For other books in the CTS Devotions Series click here.

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