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Our Lady, undoer of our abortion knot

Many of you would be shocked to learn that Colorado is one of only four states without health code standards for abortion clinics, or any sort of limit on when unborn children can be aborted. In response to this horrific situation, I am inviting Catholics and all people of good will to join in a prayer campaign focused on ending the grip of abortion on our state and country.

This past week, I learned that the Colorado Secretary of State’s office has a person whose job is to monitor nail salons’ conformance to a section of the state’s health code written just for them. When I Googled the regulations, they were lengthy and numerous, including requirements for ventilation systems, size of each working area, types of equipment which may or may not be used and the list went on.

And yet, when it comes to the facilities where women have a highly invasive medical procedure done—which it must be said involves the taking of an innocent, defenseless life—there are zero regulations to ensure that at least the mother’s health is protected.

Colorado is also home to one of only four abortionists in the country who still carry out late-term abortions. This is because our state does not place any legal limits on when an abortion can occur, even though the medical community considers an unborn child to be viable at 24 weeks of development.

Catholics, Christians and others of good will must do everything they can to push for a legislative solution to this tragedy. But we must also commit ourselves to the spiritual dimension of this fight for life.

Recently I learned from a woman at Holy Ghost Parish about a novena (nine-day prayer) to Our Lady Undoer of Knots that she and other pro-lifers organized this past June. Their intention was for progress to be made in closing the Planned Parenthood mega-clinic in Stapleton. Since the conclusion of the novena, this parishioner told me that a clinic worker has resigned and a lawsuit has been filed against the facility for allegedly covering up sexual abuse.

These prayerful, peaceful efforts to end abortion are an essential element of the fight to defend the defenseless. Therefore, between Sept. 28 and Oct. 6, I am asking the faithful of the Archdiocese of Denver and all people of good will to join me in praying a novena to Our Lady Undoer of Knots, asking her intercession to undo the knot of abortion in our state. Seminarians from St. John Vianney Theological Seminary will be joining the effort by writing reflections for the novena, which will be published at www.archden.org and made available to parishes.

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The reason we are asking Mary to intercede with her son under the title of Our Lady Undoer of Knots has an interesting history and a connection to Pope Francis, who brought the devotion from Germany to Argentina in the 1980s, when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires.

The devotion comes from the life of a 17th-century German nobleman, Wolfgang Langenmantel, whose marriage was on the brink of collapse. After a series of meetings with Jesuit Father Jakob Rem, who was counseling him on how to restore his marriage, he brought his wedding ribbon to a chapel of Our Lady of the Snows near Augsburg, Germany. Father Rem was waiting for him and took the ribbon—used to symbolize the unbreakable bond of marriage—raised it up to the image of Mary, while at the same time symbolically untying its knots. As he smoothed out the ribbon, it became intensely white, a sign of Mary’s intercession for the resolution of the seemingly impossible issues plaguing the nobleman’s marriage.

The Blessed Mother’s role in helping people overcome problems is rooted in her being the “new Eve,” the woman whom God said immediately after the fall would defeat Satan. As St. Irenaus put it, “Eve, by her disobedience, tied the knot of disgrace for the human race; whereas Mary, by her obedience, undid it.”

We are turning to Our Lady Undoer of Knots because the “knot” of abortion on-demand in Colorado requires divine intervention, as well as human effort.

During this same timeframe, we are blessed to have a second spiritual tool at our disposal in the form of a copy of the icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa visiting the archdiocese. This image is traveling around the world as part of the “From Ocean to Ocean” initiative and will be here during Respect Life month.

The initiative is an act of entrustment of the civilization of love and life into the hands of the Mother of God, at a time when marriage and life at all stages are under attack.

The icon will visit several locations in the archdiocese between Sept. 27 and Oct. 5, including Lighthouse Women’s Center, which is located across the street from Planned Parenthood’s abortion clinic.

This particular image of Our Lady is known as the “Black Madonna” because her face was blackened by anti-Catholic, Hussite raiders in 1430 who slashed it and attempted to burn the icon. Like those who experience the consequences of abortion, she is scarred, but Our Lady wishes to bring healing to those who seek it.

Mother Mary, you who protected the life of Jesus in your womb and protected him from Herod’s soldiers, we turn to you to help undo the knot of abortion in our state and to bring healing to all those harmed by it.

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila
Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila
The Most Rev. Samuel J. Aquila is the eighth bishop of Denver and its fifth archbishop. His episcopal motto is, "Do whatever he tells you" (Jn 2:5).

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