A Chance
for Life


Instruments of Reconciliation

Day 3: Tuesday, week 1


Mary, Instrument of God’s Mercy

With her ‘Yes’ given freely at the Annunciation, Mary gave birth to Jesus, the presence of God’s unconditional love, forgiveness and reconciliation.

Tradition holds that Mary, reeling from Jesus’ crucifixion and death, set aside her own sorrowful and wounded heart and turned towards the confused and fearful disciples. Looking back at the group of disciples gathered around her in the Upper Room, her presence shows us the power of forgiveness and reconciliation to heal divided hearts and restore unity, (Acts 1:14). Thus, as God’s instrument of mercy, Mary, became known as the ‘mother of reconciliation’. Our call is to emulate her.


Pope Francis often speaks of the image of ‘Mary Untier of Knots’. While studying in Augsburg Germany in the 1980’s, he discovered this devotion to Mary. In the church of St. Peter am Perlach, he saw the painting of Mary surrounded by angels, holding a long ribbon, untying a large knot, one of several on the ribbon. This devotion, not based on any apparition, had a profound impact on his life. When he became Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he introduced and encouraged this devotion to Mary. To this day, the devotion is very popular throughout Argentina. In calling its attention to us, Pope Francis reminds us that “Mary attests that the mercy of the Son of God knows no bounds and extends to everyone, without exception.” (Pope Francis. Misercicordia Vultus, Bull of Indiction #24)



Based on this painting, we offer this mandala of ‘Mary Untier of Knots’ for your reflection.

Mandala created by Rachel

In the centre of the mandala we see Mary untying knots. She is embraced by the cross of Jesus and the Spirit symbolized by the colour orange.

  • What connections do I perceive between the cross of Jesus, the Spirit, Mary’s intercession and my crosses, my knots that paralyze my interior freedom, my being fully alive, called to manifest the glory of God?


We offer this ancient prayer to Mary or speak to Mary from your own heart.

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection,
implored your help or sought your intercession,
was left unaided.
Inspired with this confidence,
I fly to you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother;
to you do I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions,
but in your mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

This prayer is based on the writings of St. Bernard, the first person to call Mary, “Our Lady”.


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