Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Our Lady of Guadaloupe, Blessed John Henry Newman and Untying Knots

This Friday is the Feast of the Queen of the Americas. Catholic churches from the North Pole to the tip of South America will celebrate their Queen and ask for her prayers.
Our Lady of Guadaloupe in Mexico
I will be offering Mass for the intentions of a boy and a man with whom I have been working.  

First, the youngest of the two, who turns thirteen this weekend; I will call him Guillermo (to preserve his confidentiality).  Guillermo (pronounced GEE-AIR-MO with a hard G - Spanish for William) is suffering from advanced stage cancer.  His family is from South America and is very supportive and prayerful. His mother, who is at his side most of the time, goes to daily Mass at noon when she can.

The second man, Miguel, is at the end of a very long bureaucratic process which has required him to leave Canada for two and a half years as the machinery of Immigration grinds on.  His application is to return to Canada to take up a job which he was doing when he first came to Toronto seeking asylum from extortion in Mexico, a situation which saw his brother, a businessman, murdered by criminals.

Miguel was so valued by his employer that this employer has footed his legal costs to return.  Why it has taken more than twice the expected time is a mystery and a knot that needs to be untied.

Guillermo and Miguel have agreed to be prayer partners. We are asking that as many people as can join them, attend Mass this Friday (and as many of the following nine days as you can) and offer prayers for Guillermo and Miguel with Our Lady Untier of Knots (Our Lady of Perpetual Help) and Blessed John Henry Newman. 

In the case of Guillermo we are asking for healing -- a miracle from the intercession of Blessed John Henry Newman with Our Lady which would be for his canonization. 

We know that all this is possible with God and though we do not have a relic of Blessed John Henry Newman (if anyone can loan us one we would be grateful) we will be invoking his name and prayers for both our friends.

Pope Francis has been one of the chief promoters of “Our Lady Undoer of Knots.”  As a young man, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was studying in Germany. He was very taken by a Bavarian painting of “Holy Mary, Our Lady Untier of Knots.” He acquired a copy of the painting and brought it to Argentina with him. He promoted devotion to Mary under this title and  apparently it has caught on with the faithful of Argentina. It is interesting that this Marian devotion of Pope Francis is rooted in Bavaria –  a bridge between the Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI and that of Pope Francis. Some time ago, Cardinal Bergoglio had an image of Our Lady Undoer of Knots engraved into a chalice and presented it to Pope Benedict XVI.

Something about the theology surrounding this Marian Devotion, thanks to Dr. Taylor Marshall:
The theology of Mary untying knots goes back to the second century – less than one hundred years after the death of the Apostles. Saint Irenaeus of Lyons wrote “the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. For what Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the Blessed Virgin Mary set free through faith.” (Adversus haereses, 3, 22) This is one of the earliest examples of describing Mary as the “New Eve.” Eve, standing next to Adam, is the “co-peccatrix” (co-sinner) Mary, standing next to Christ crucified, is the “co-redemptrix” (co-redemptress). This does not mean that Mary directly saves or redeems us. It means that Mary consents and participates in the redemptive action of Christ. Her role is congruent and relative to the condign and absolute role of Christ.
Our Lady Undoer of Knots is Patristic and may be the way forward for establishing and expanding Marian theology. The doctrine of Mary’s universal mediation and her subordinate role to Christ in human salvation is beautifully summed up in this saying of Saint Irenaeus of Lyons. The fact that it goes back to the second century reveals that this is not a medieval accretion. It’s a doctrine deriving from the Apostles themselves.

You can share in the Novena to Our Lady Untier of Knots. One form is found here which is easily modified for your own intentions:
Novena: Our Lady Untier of Knots


We know that Blessed JHN had a deep and abiding devotion to Our Lady under her many titles. He was a patristic scholar and prayed for the untying of many knots in his very rough journey of faith into the light of unity in the Catholic Church.

The second phase of our partnership in prayer is to offer the following prayer invoking the intercession of Blessed John Henry Newman at Mass and daily prayer for nine days:

God our Father, who granted to thy servant Blessed John Henry Newman wonderful gifts of nature and of grace, that he should be a spiritual light in the darkness of this world, an eloquent herald of the Gospel, and a devoted servant of the one Church of Christ.
With confidence in his heavenly intercession, we make the following petition: [here make your petition]
For his insight into the mysteries of the kingdom, his zealous defence of the teachings of the Church, and his priestly love for each of thy children, we pray that he may soon be numbered among the Saints.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.  AMEN.

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