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In a new book, Archbishop Timothy A. Dolan, of New York, promotes the relatively new devotion known as "Our Lady Undoer of Knots."

In the book, entitled Doers of the Word, the archbishop says:

"I'm always fascinated by the different titles Mary has in the Church.

"The abundant names we give her serve as testimony to the influence she has in our life.

"These descriptions can describe an event -- the Annunciation, the Assumption, Sorrowful Mother -- or can almost be at times a 'job description' of her duties in the Church -- Refuge of  Sinners, Health of the Sick, Comforter of the Afflicted, Gate of Heaven, Perpetual Help, or Star of the Sea.

"Then there are the titles that come from her apparitions -- Guadalupe, Lourdes, Fatima, or Knock come to mind. And different countries honor her under various banners, such as Our Lady of Czestochowa or Our Lady of Pompeii.

"Just when I thought I had heard them all, I learned a new one: Mary, Undoer of Knots! The friend who introduced me to this one travels the world helping people undo the knots in women and men tied up emotionally after the horror of abortion and testifies to Mary's efficiency under this intriguing title.

"Listen to how one booklet describes her:

"'With the infinite love of a mother and moved by her extraordinary power of intercession with her Son Jesus, Mary, the one who unfastens the knots of our life, comes to you today and she comes beautiful, triumphant, splendid, and gracious to meet you, bringing with her the heavenly court to unfasten the knots in your life.

"How great is her love and the love of her Son for you. He wants you to discover this love because it will dry the tears from your eyes and move the gracious hands of Mary to undo all the knots which afflict you so.'"

"Ah, the knots in our life!" continues the archbishop. "How they suffocate our soul, beat us down, betray our heart's joy, and even bind our will to continue living. Knots separate us from God, chaining our very being and strangling our faith, keeping us from flinging like children into the arms of God, our loving Father.

"The Virgin Mary does not want these knots to continue anymore in your life. She comes to you today asking you to give her these snarls to undo them one by one.

"Today, recognize the greatness of your mother, undoer of knots, and let her lead you to know the wonders that will be done for you. Come close to her now. See her beauty. Entrust your afflictions to her, knowing that she will unravel all the knots in your life."

Archbishop Dolan -- who heads one of the country's largest archdioceses -- said the basis for calling Mary "Our Lady, Undoer of Knots" probably dates back to Irenaeus, who wrote in the second century that "the knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by Mary's obedience; for what Eve bound by her unbelief, Mary loosed by her faith."

[resources: Mary, Undoer of Knots novena booklet]

[see also: previous article]

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