Unraveling Our Personal History During Lent

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While the Blessed Virgin Mary has a very visible role to play in the season of Advent, she is less prominent in Lent. But turning to Our Lady, the Undoer of Knots, during Lent, can help us unravel our personal history of sin.

The Blessed Virgin acts behind the scenes, so to speak, during Lent, accompanying us on our penitential journey. She leads us to the apex of the season, which is the Hill of Calvary. There she stands, interceding for us with her divine Son.

During Lent, Mary helps us to undo the knots and obstacles to grace in our own lives so that we can stand with her at Calvary and participate in Christ’s redemption of the world.

Our Lady is unique in the history of the human race. Without the benefit of a divine nature like her Son, she is the sole human being who never sinned. This is an astonishing reality if we take time to contemplate its significance. Yet, Mary called God her Savior. She knew that to be preserved from sin was the same as being redeemed from sin. She thus identifies herself with the rest of sinful humanity. Her total cooperation with God’s grace in her life means that she has a unique ability to undo the ravages of sin in the lives of sinners like us.

The Distortions of Sin

We bear the sad legacy of Adam and Eve and carry with us a history of sin that needs to be unraveled, atoned for, redeemed. In the most basic sense, sin distorts our souls. Sin is “contrary to reason” and “lies in the human heart” says our Catechism (1872-73).

If we are honest with ourselves, we will recognize that each of us has our own personal legacy of sin, a history of sinful behaviors and attitudes, which affects our relationships with God and neighbor. Lent offers us the opportunity to examine our souls deeply and confront that personal legacy of sin. To do so, we turn to Our Lady, the Undoer of Knots, the one who has no history of sin whatsoever. She will help us make this deep examination in order to open a wider avenue to Christ’s grace in our souls.

A Program of Light

During Lent, let us honestly present to Our Lady our whole personal history and ask her to undo sin in the three aspects of our souls: mind, emotions, will. We need never be afraid of Mary’s program of light, which simply reflects the light of Christ to us.

Sins of the Mind:
The darkening of the intellect through sin leaves us more vulnerable to the lies and distortions of the secular culture. We must look into our past and identify the ways in which we have “gotten caught up” in worldly thinking and the vain ideologies of our society without ever asking whether these things were in accord with the Will of God. Mary will enlighten our minds about all past enthusiasms and sins and lead us to embrace the Truth of Christ at a much deeper level.

Sins of the Emotions:
The doorway to most sin is the open wound of our emotions. The devil often plays upon our vulnerability for tantalizing images and appetites such as the offering of “fruit” which Eve took from the Tree in the Garden of Eden. Lent is a good time to surrender our history of sinful desires to Our Lady and ask her to enlighten our inmost beings, purify our passions, and strengthen our emotions to conform more closely to God’s designs. Her perfectly ordered soul allowed her to rejoice in God her savior (Luke 1:46-55).

Sins of the Will:
The center of all sinfulness is the distorted will that seeks to assert our independence from God’s sovereignty. Sin is, ultimately, a decision of the will. It is a self-affirmation over and against the Will of God. The Blessed Virgin never rebelled from His plan of salvation.  Thus she is the perfect person to help us repair the weakness of will that has led us into sin our whole lives. Open your history of willfulness to her.  Ask her to undo the rebelliousness of the heart during the Lenten season. She will show you the way.

All Sin is Undone at Calvary

As we begin Lent with ashes on our foreheads, we acknowledge that “we are dust and unto dust we shall return.” But let us keep in mind that Lent is a journey of hope that leads through the Cross to the Resurrection. As Mary accompanies us on this journey, she gives us the greatest hope that sin, with all its distortions and ravages, never has the last word.


This article was originally published at Cheminons Avec Marie que Defait Les Noeuds.

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3 thoughts on “Unraveling Our Personal History During Lent”

  1. Very good article Mr. Darcy. If I may add a thought. It is that Our Lady calls God her Savior not only because she was “uniquely redeemer” by way of prevention but also because a Savior is not exactly the same as a Redeemer. Our Lady did not need to have a ransom paid to win her soul back from the devil’s grasp. Her redemption was, as the Church says in the definition of the Immaculate Conception, a unique privilege, prevented from ever falling under original sin. All mankind was under the sentence of original sin but the execution of the sentence in Our Lady’s case, was abrogated. Mary’s salvation was (as well as all her prerogatives) due to the merits of her Son, Savior of all even the angels. The good angels were not redeemed but they were saved. Saved from what? From a finite destiny of everlasting natural happiness. For this they needed Jesus as Savior. In fact, as many fathers teach, the sin of the fallen angels was due to their refusal to adore the Savior to come in a nature less than theirs. “Let all the angels of God adore him”, says the Psalmist.

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