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Mary: Walls and Knots, Love and Communion

Author: 
Jessi Beck, PBVM

Mary, mother of Jesus, is a woman who, over the years, has taken on many names and faces that cross cultures and boundaries. So many people see something significant in Mary that speaks to their life. She is often a sign of hope and solidarity in suffering. In the past year, I have been introduced to Our Lady, Who Brings Down Walls and Mary, Undoer of Knots.

The community of sisters I live with happened upon the biographical mini-series, “Call Me Francis,” about the life of Jorge Bergoglio in the years prior to becoming Pope Francis. While studying in Germany in the 1980’s Mary, Undoer of Knots found him. He developed a devotion to her that he took to Argentina, where it spread far and fast among people living in dangerous and uncertain times. 

For me, Mary, Undoer of Knots brings to mind the knots in my own life and our world today. The situations where it seems there is no good way forward, at least that I can see in the moment. We all experience these situations and a prayer to Mary, Undoer of Knots may be just what we need to recommit to our trust in God. The novena meditation begins like this:

Dearest Holy Mother, Most Holy Mary, you undo the knots that suffocate your children. Extend your merciful hands to me. I entrust to You today this knot [mention your request here] and all the negative consequences that it provokes in my life. Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for me.

The prayer continues here.

Next we turn to the walls in our life. In societies across the world there are physical walls built to separate people, to keep out “the other.” In my own country, I’m heart-broken by the trauma of children being separated from their families at the US/Mexico border. I was introduced to Our Lady, Who Brings Down Walls by one of my sisters who ministers in the Holy Land where a wall surrounds the people of Palestine, separating them from the people of Israel. She gave me a holy card with the image of an icon that is written on the wall. On the back of the card is a prayer that begins like this:

Most Holy Mother of God, We pray to you as mother of the Church, mother of all Christians who suffer. We beg you, through your ardent intercession, to bring down this wall, the walls of our hearts, and all the walls that generate hatred, violence, fear, and indifference between people and between nations.

The prayer continues here. 

It is a prayer not only for the people of Palestine and Israel and all who live in the shadow of physical walls, but also for each one of us and the walls we may have built around our hearts.

I’m writing this article as I prepare to attend the LCWR Assembly to be an exhibitor for Giving Voice. The theme of this year’s assembly is Being the Presence of Love: The Power of Communion. I think Mary, of many faces and names, and the people devoted to her around the world have important lessons to teach us about how to be the presence of love in difficult situations and how the power of communion can lead to transformation.

Where do you choose to contribute your passion and energy to undo knots and bring down walls in society? What walls or knots does your congregation need to attend to for the life of your members? What are the walls or knots in your personal life?

Be Love. Rely on Communion that reverences diversity.