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Novena to Mary, Undoer of Knots

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Icon of Mary Undoer of Knots by Johann George Melchior Schmidtner.

Baroque icon of Maria Knotenlöserin (Mary Undoer of Knots) by Johann George Melchior Schmidtner (c. 1700, oil on poplar), in the Church of St. Peter am Perlach, Augsburg, Bavaria, Germany.

Public domain

Introduction to the Novena to Mary, Undoer of Knots:

The Novena to Mary, Undoer of Knots (also known as the Novena to Mary, Untier of Knots, or the Novena to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots) was inspired by a German baroque icon (pictured at the right). The icon features the Blessed Virgin Mary, surrounded by the heavenly host and under a dove representing the Holy Spirit, undoing knots while crushing the head of the serpent under her heel. (See Genesis 3:15.)

Both the icon and the devotion to Mary, Undoer of Knots, trace their roots to a passage from a famous work, Against Heresies, by a second-century bishop, Saint Irenaeus of Lyons. In discussing Mary's role as the Second Eve, Saint Irenaeus writes that "the knot of Eve's disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. For what the virgin Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the virgin Mary set free through faith."

In popular devotion, this image was extended to the Blessed Virgin's intercession for us in Heaven. The knot is a good representation of the results of sin in our spiritual life: As we engage habitually in sin, it becomes harder and harder to return to virtue, just as a knot that is pulled tighter and tighter becomes harder to untie. God's grace, however, offered to us through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, can undo any knot and conquer any sin.

Instructions for praying the Novena to Mary, Undoer of Knots, are given below. Please note that there is a first part, composed of four steps, the last of which involves a separate meditation for each day of the novena; after the list of meditations, there is a second part of the novena, composed of three steps.

If you plan on praying the Novena to Mary, Undoer of Knots, you can sign up for a daily reminder e-mail. Each day, starting on the day you sign up, you will receive an e-mail with links to the prayers and meditations for that day.

First Part of the Novena to Mary, Undoer of Knots:

  1. Begin each day of the Novena to Mary, Undoer of Knots, with the Sign of the Cross.
  2. Make an Act of Contrition. You can use any form; simply ask God to pardon your sins and make a firm purpose of amendment not to commit them again.
  3. Pray the first three decades of the rosary, with the appropriate mysteries for the day: Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious.
  4. Make the meditation for the particular day of the Novena to Mary, Undoer of Knots (linked below):

Meditation for the First Day:

Meditation for the Second Day:

Meditation for the Third Day:

Meditation for the Fourth Day:

Meditation for the Fifth Day:

Meditation for the Sixth Day:

Meditation for the Seventh Day:

Meditation for the Eighth Day:

Meditation for the Ninth Day:

Second Part of the Novena to Mary, Undoer of Knots:

  1. Pray the last two decades of the rosary, with the appropriate mysteries for the day: Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious.
  2. Pray the Prayer to Mary, Undoer of Knots.
  3. End each day of the Novena to Mary, Undoer of Knots, with the Sign of the Cross.

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