Anyone who’s had small children knows the grubby intensity of the knotted tennis shoe lace. Maybe kiddos now have Velcro, but back in the day, we had epic struggles and gruesome battles with the stubborn knot, while the child wriggled in frustration.
Maybe that’s why I was so drawn to Mary, Undoer of Knots. Last weekend was my introduction; I hadn’t known this is one of Pope Francis’ favorite devotions. Just google the name; you’ll have a feast of images and prayers. Most of the art is quite traditional, so the devotion must go back centuries.
Most people’s ordinary life is so full of complexity and thorny problems, it makes us want to lie down for a long nap. That’s where this image of Mary comes in. She gets it. Surely in the life of Jesus and the early church, she wrestled with mammoth issues. Some images present her as gliding smoothly along a paved highway with no traffic. This one shows the reality: questions that she, like us, needed all her strength and courage to resolve. Hooray for a Mary who lived as we do, AND who has an extraordinary grace to untie the knots.