Marge Fenelon, a noted Catholic columnist, author, and speaker, recently released her latest book Our Lady, Undoer of Knots: A Living Novena
(Ave Maria Press, 2015). In the United States, we are riding the wave of Pope Francis’s popularity. Pope Francis is principally responsible for the popularization of the devotion to Our Lady under this title, Undoer of Knots, given his personal devotion fostered while spending time in Germany. Fenelon connects the devotion to the Undoer of Knots with Pope Francis’s pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I recently had the opportunity to review Fenelon’s novena book. Here are four reasons why you should consider praying this Living Novena.
A Pilgrim Journal
In 2014, Marge Fenelon and several other Catholic journalists made a journey of faith with Pope Francis as they accompanied him during his visit to the Holy Land. Fenelon’s Our Lady, Undoer of Knots: A Living Novena has many different facets. The book serves in one way as her own devotional, a place where she reflects on the many places from Christ’s life that she visited. She details her own experience, allowing the reader (or devotee) to travel with her. For those who make the journey with Fenelon through nine days of prayer, they ask Mary to untie the knots of their lives and the knots that exist in the Holy Land. I was impressed with Marge’s depth of spirituality as it came forth in the text. The novena surely relays the impact a pilgrimage can have on a person.
Bite-Size Historical Facts
Fenelon’s novena book, while devotional in nature, also helps the reader to learn and appreciate certain historical facts. She provides adequate descriptions and historical information about many of the sites she visited. But even more, she also explains different Jewish customs, helping the reader to better appreciate other faith traditions.
Examination of Conscience
The very nature of the novena book lends itself as an examination of conscience. This examination extends beyond a personal examination into a societal examination as Fenelon explores the different knots in the Holy Land. Fenelon’s text challenges the reader to identify the areas in their own lives where they want Mary’s help in undoing knots of injustice, grief, pride, etc.
The novena text strives to make Mary relatable to each person. Fenelon finds the Marian connection to our lives and how Mary can unravel the knot we face. The text conveys our confidence in Mary’s intercession, for in hopelessness we turn to Mary, for there is no knot too hopeless for her to undo. At the close of each day’s reflection, the devotee gives Mary permission to untie the knot present in his or her life by naming it.
In our own lives, our earthly mothers have untied many knots for us with their listening ears and helping hands. Our world today needs Mary’s help in untying the many knots of division that exist between countries and people. If your life is knotted, Marge Fenelon’s book will be an aid to asking Mary to help untie those knots, one by one.