I Blindly Trust

by Sister M. Christin Diedrich

(South Africa/Great Britain)

I trust your might, your kindness, Mother dear,
I do believe that you are always near.
Whatever happens, Mother mild,
I blindly trust in you and in your Child.

(or USA)

I trust your might, your kindness, Mother dear,
I do believe that you are always near.
Schoenstatt’s great Queen, O Mother mild,
I blindly trust in you and in your Child.

This is Schoenstatt’s small but very powerful prayer of confidence. What does confidence mean? It is a composite word that is derived from the Latin term confidentia. Fidentia comes from fides which means faith in Latin and the prefix con means with. So confidence actually means: concentrated faith, intensified faith, faith which puts itself into practice. I believe in someone and therefore confide in that person. The prayer expresses that I believe in Mary’s might and kindness and confide in her and her child, Jesus Christ.

A Prayer Written in the Concentration Camp of Dachau

Before we look more deeply into the text, I would like to make a few preliminary remarks. Firstly, the prayer of confidence is taken from the booklet, Heavenwards, page 170.[1] We find the original verse towards the end of the so-called Hirtenspiegel – Shepherd’s Mirror, a didactic poem with 5870 verses that Father Kentenich composed between April 9, 1943 to February 1944 during his stay in the Concentration Camp of Dachau. This verse must have been very important for Father Kentenich because he repeats the entire verse or the last two lines over and over again, after enumerating certain practical difficulties, and finally closes the Shepherd’s Mirror with it. Can one interpret from this fact that, through this little verse, he wanted to summarize all that he had said before and give us the means to tackle events in our own personal lives?

The Different Translations

The second remark concerns the translation. As pointed out above, there are different translations of this prayer. The entire Shepherd’s Mirror “is written in four-line rhyming verse, so the translator has to make a choice: to try to reproduce the verse while perhaps (necessarily) departing somewhat from the original text, or making a prose translation that closely reproduces the founder’s thoughts.[2]

The original German text says:

Ich bau’ auf deine Macht und deine Güte,
vertau’ auf sie mit kindlichem Gemüte;
ich glaub’, vertrau’ in allen Lagen blind
auf dich, du Wunderbare, und dein Kind.

The closest translation I could find is the following:

I build upon your power and your goodness,
trusting in them with the heart of a child;
I believe and trust in every circumstance
in you, Thrice Admirable, and your Child.[3]

Two Images from Holy Scripture

The prayer starts: I build upon… Thinking of building, two images from Holy Scripture come spontaneously to my mind:

Jesus advised us to build our house on firm rock:

A wise man… built his house on rock.The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.[4]

The other image is Jesus as the cornerstone. St. Paul writes:

So then you… built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone – Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord; in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.[5]

In Childlike Daring Confidence on the Firm Rock of the Covenant of Love

Father Kentenich built the house of his entire life in childlike daring confidence on the firm rock of the covenant of love with the Blessed Mother and thus became completely free of any fear. In a very difficult situation he said solemnly to another priest:

I now reveal to you the great secret of my childlike trust and my sovereign calm: I have made the covenant of love.[6]

I would like to add a second witness from Fr. Kentenich himself in 1963:

From the beginning, I took this central reality of the covenant of love into account…Taking the Mater habebit curam (Mother cares) seriously is such a central, fundamental attitude that moved me naturally in every circumstance. [7]

With the Heart of a Child

“With the heart of a child” – in fact, Father Kentenich repeatedly stated that he was the greatest child within the Schoenstatt work. He always completely trusted in her great power and goodness (kindness). In her strength and out of love for the Church he united himself deeply with Jesus Christ, the cornerstone, and constantly continued to build the Church at the new shore according to his mission received by God.

An Expression of How Father Kentenich Mastered Life in the “Hell of Dachau”

The prayer of confidence is surely an expression of how he mastered life in the “hell of Dachau”. Shortly after he was dismissed from Dachau in 1945 he told the people in Ennabeuren:

What insecurity, uncertainty was our lot in Dachau! How many worries day and night. And yet! Our greatest worry was to be carefree in boundless trust in God’s fatherly care. (…) When I consecrate myself to Mary, I give everything to her. She knows of my love. She gives me all her maternal care and love. She protects me, if God so wills it.[8]

Father Kentenich Drew Others into his Own Confidence and Led Them to Mary

What Father Kentenich experienced as a help in his own life he generously shared with all those entrusted to him. He drew them into his own confidence and led them to Mary, the object of his childlike confidence. Thousands of people received this, his favorite prayer, or the recommendation to pray it, from him. Our entire Schoenstatt history is proof of Father Kentenich’s deep childlike confidence in Mary and the ways in which the Blessed Mother revealed her great power and kindness. At the silver jubilee of Schoenstatt’s foundation Father Kentenich said:

She has worked wonders. Indeed, she has proven that she is the Mother Thrice Admirable and Queen of Schoenstatt – wonderfully powerful, wonderfully kind, wonderfully faithful, the Mother of God, Mother of the Redeemer and Mother of the redeemed.… The all-conquering power of her love, kindness and care has made it easy for us to place her again and again on the throne of our family and our hearts. We freely chose and willed to do so. Now she reigns in our Schoenstatt world with sovereign freedom and generosity… The family chose our Lady in a unique way to be its Mother, Queen and Advocate.[9]

“Schoenstatt’s Great Queen, O Mother mild.”

The crowning stream has drawn ever wider circles within the Schoenstatt Work. This might be the reason why the translation of the USA version addresses her as “Schoenstatt’s great Queen, O Mother mild.”

Because of her fullness of grace and her unique role as Mother of God, Father Kentenich teaches that God has exalted Mary as Queen, giving her a share in God’s all-powerful governance of the world: “Being admirably powerful, admirably kind, and admirably faithful, Mary represents to us in human form these same qualities of the infinite God.”[10]

In this teaching about Mary’s might, Father Kentenich continues a long theological tradition. He refers, for example, to the teaching of Saint Thomas: “According to all that we believe about the Mother of God, we may say: She has an almost infinite dignity, hence she also has almost infinite power.”[11]

St. Anselm similarly proclaims the power of the Blessed Mother:

The world has apostles, patriarchs, prophets, martyrs, confessors, and virgins, all very good helpers indeed, whom I desire to entreat suppliantly. But you, O Lady, are more exalted, greater, more glorious than all these helpers, for you are mistress over them and over all other helpers. Therefore, you alone and without them, can accomplish what they can do only jointly with you. Why are you so powerful? Because you are the Mother of the Redeemer, the Bride of God, the Queen of heaven and earth. When you are silent, no one petitions, no one helps. When you petition, they all petition, they all help.[12]

“I Believe and Trust in Every Circumstance”

The last two lines of the prayer of confidence, using the closest translation of the original prayer, say:

I believe and trust in every circumstance
in you, Thrice Admirable, and your Child.

We might not yet be able to trust in every circumstance in the Blessed Mother and her child Jesus, but we can ask the Blessed Mother or Father Kentenich to intercede for us their deep childlike trust so that we grow always deeper into this attitude. Today’s time with all its difficulties in public and personal life truly challenges us in this direction.

Sometimes it can help to enumerate and express very concretely in writing our worries, fears, and difficulties. Then we can place these papers, while reciting the prayer of confidence, into the jar we find in the Schoenstatt Shrines or our home shrines, confiding every circumstance to the Blessed Mother and her Child.

The ‘Jar Mail’ Has Arrived with the Blessed Mother…

A mother who belongs to the Schoenstatt Work writes about the effectiveness of this custom:

Yes, the ‘jar mail’ has arrived with the Blessed Mother… Since I entrusted my urgent requests to her, I feel a strong trust in her. I have felt a strong trust in myself, which has grown enormously in the last fourteen days and which is also very beneficial to me now in all the excitement about ‘Corona’. The growing confidence helps me to be much more confident and calm. It has already helped me in difficult situations these days to immediately turn to God and tell him about my difficulties, worries, and pains and to entrust and hand them over to him. I immediately became calmer and more balanced. In all the chaos of these days, I have the impression that the most important thing is to faithfully hold on to faith and trust.[13]

Mater Habebit Curam!

I would like to close this reflection with another quote from Father Kentenich, wishing for each one of us that the expressed attitude becomes more and more a reality in our personal lives and surrounding:

The greatest means in all need… is the unwavering, heaven-storming confidence. Mater habebit curam! (Mother takes care!) I hope and trust: I will be transformed, the circumstances will be transformed, also the world will be transformed… Who has confidence, has everything![14]

[1] J Kentenich, Heavenwards, trans. Jonathan Niehaus, American Edition, Version 4.0, Waukesha, WI: Schoenstatt Fathers, 1992, 170.

[2] https://www.j-k-i.de/kr-2-de-33/

[3] Ibid.

[4] Matthew 7:24-27.

[5] Ephesians 2: 19-22.

[6] Josef M. Neuenhofer, Only and Always Father, trans. Mary Jane Hoehne, Schoenstatt-Verlag, 2014, 30.

[7] J. Kentenich, 1963, in Peter Wolf (ed.), Your Covenant – our Mission, trans Mary Cole, Schoenstatt Editions USA, 2014,151.

[8] J. Kentenich, Unsere Marianische IV, Marienschwestern, Liebfrauenhoehe, 1982, 2. Auflage, 38,51.

[9] https://www.liebfrauenhoehe.de/sites/default/files/IMCE/Berichte-2020/2020-03-25-Liebesbuendnis-Impuls/03_LB-Impulse_Maerz_2020.pdf

[10] J. Kentenich, Marian Instrument Piety, trans. William Brell, Schoenstatt Center Waukesha, WI, 1992, 135.

[11] Quoted in J. Kentenich, Our Marian Mission, trans. Mary Cole, Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, Constantia, South Africa, 1991, 19.

[12] Quoted in J. Kentenich, Marian Instrument Piety, 96.

[13] www.schoenstattbewegung-frauen-und-muetter.de

[14] J. Kentenich, source unknown.