In the late second century, St Irenaeus described in his work Against Heresies a parallel between Eve and the Virgin Mary, 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." This became, several centuries later, the inspiration for a painting by Johann George Melchior Schmidtner (c. 1700) known as Mary Untier of Knots, or sometimes Mary Undoer of Knots. Either is, to the best of my knowledge, correct.
In turn, the painting has sparked a particular devotion to Mary in this capacity, as the untier of the snarled-up mess of our sinful lives. And in this capacity, I feel a particular warmth and affection toward her, because, you see, she reminds me of my own mother. I am thirty years old, and still, when I reach the end of a skein of yarn while knitting or crocheting, and what is left has become a snarled and knotted mess, I hand my yarn to my mother. And she lovingly untangles it, and presents me with a tidy, neatly wound ball. One would think by now that she would tell me to untangle my own bloody yarn like a big girl, but every time, she takes my tangled heap and fixes it. And so Mary, as Mother, and as undoer of the knots of our lives, speaks to me. The particular prayer to Mary, Undoer of Knots speaks of the "ribbon of my life," but I fear I will always envision a skein of yarn, that I have tossed around and taken no particular care with, and the loving Mother who gently untangles the knots and winds it into a neat little ball for me.
You may have noticed that I haven't written any posts in the last week or so, and that has been because my life has been busy, and everything worth writing about has been judged too personal for public presentation. Only my nearest and dearest will completely understand, and that's alright.
Tonight, I just have to say, "Thanks, Mom." Not only to the mother who untangles my yarn without a single cross word to me, but also to the Mother who untangles the seemingly impossible knots of my life.
Continue to pray for me, Mother. I know the yarn isn't tidy yet. But I have confidence that the King will refuse you nothing. He is, after all, your Son. :)