January - February 2024
Mary, Woman of confidance...
To have confidence in someone is not easy. On the contrary, experience shows us that it is extremely demanding. It requires placing your trust in the hands of someone other than yourself, another person whom you do not completely know. Yet, without confidence, what can we do? Our lives are based on this reality of confidence. Not a day goes by without us placing our trust and confidence in someone else.
If Christ, through His coming amongst us, changed everything, let us never forget that He could not have done it alone. He, too, had to have confidence. Confidence, first in a most humble woman, promised in marriage to Joseph. A woman who would become His Mother. Thus, blessed and chosen above all, her mission would be an absolutely unique one. Mary, filled with grace, the one who received the favour of the Lord, would be the Mother of God.
“Those who trust in Mary will never be disappointed.”
(Saint John Bosco)
Even God needs to have confidence. He goes through Mary for His plan of redemption. He needs her and relies on her. Mary’s “Yes” is clear and decisive. Her response sets her on a path that she does not fully understand, that she cannot really imagine, but a path that she welcomes and that she wholly-heartedly accepts. She believes and abandons herself before the words of the Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation. Her “Yes” in confidence, in faith, unveils a new beginning. It all starts at this precise moment.
From then on, Mary will be there, alongside Christ, from beginning to end. Her faithful presence, often discreet, sometimes noticed, will be like her initial “Yes.” Mary is a woman of confidence! At the heart of the Saviour’s life, she becomes the Mother of the Church, Mother of humanity, Mother of confidence.
Mary thus reveals the fragility, the weakness of God. In a great mystery, God relies on her, He trusts in Mary. And, in turn, she entrusts her life to Him. Mary is at the centre to reveal the Love of a loving and benevolent Father.
May Mary teach us confidence! A confidence that comes from the heart, that goes beyond appearances, that makes fear vanish and allows us to take one step forward, then another, all in order for us to grow.
May Mary accompany us! Like God, who was the first, let us turn to her in confidence.
May Mary be our Mother, my Mother! Following in the footsteps of so many before us, let us entrust our lives to her.
United in prayer!
Editor-in-Chief of the Annals of Saint Anne
Paul-André Durocher - Archbishop of Gatineau
Confidence - An important Theme in Scripture
Confidence is a fascinating word. It conjures up various finely nuanced meanings. It can refer to a character trait (“I have confidence in myself”), my attitude towards another (“I have confidence in you”), the strengths of my convictions (“I have confidence in this report”) or certain private conversations (“Let me share this confidence with you”).
What about confidence in the Bible? Can Scripture teach us something about the role of confidence in our lives? Indeed, it can. However, we cannot simply look up the word in a Bible dictionary or search for it in a concordance. The idea of confidence is expressed through a constellation of words and idioms, both in the original language of Scripture as well as in its many translations.
It seems to me that the foundational sense of confidence in the Bible concerns our relationship with God. The seventh chapter of the Book of Micah is interesting in this regard. The prophet lived through a war that destroyed northern Israel and was subjected to the devastation that followed. He had lost confidence in those whom he had considered his friends. (Micah 7:5) However, just a few verses later, he insists, “As for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” (7:7) We should all take these words to heart. Our confidence should rest above all in God. God is faithful and trustworthy, His Word is solid, His love is everlasting. The Psalms often speak of trusting in God, of placing our confidence in Him. One of the most beautiful is Psalm 92, which opens with these words, “You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.’” (Psalm 92:1-2)
“As for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.”
Likewise, Jesus had confidence in God His Father above all other things. The way that He continuously sought out His Father’s will shows us how He saw, in God’s will, the sure foundation of His own life in this world. We need only remember the night before He died, how He agonized in the garden over His upcoming death, and how He recommitted Himself to the Father’s project, “Yet not my will but yours be done!” (Luke 22:42) As the author of the letter to the Hebrew’s meditated on Jesus’s life, he concluded that Jesus’ attitude could be summed up in this prayer, “I will put my trust in Him!” (Hebrews 2:13) We should model our own prayer on His and learn to put all our trust in God, our Father.
Trusting in God has a remarkable side effect: it teaches us to have confidence in ourselves. Because we know God will not abandon us, we can speak and act in ways that we would never have dared. When the prophet Jeremiah first discerned that God was calling him to speak out against the leaders of Israel, he was afraid. He felt he was too young, too immature to take on this task. But he heard God speak to his heart: “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy,’ for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 1:7-8) Saint Paul, writing about his daring mission to the nations — even as he suffered in jail — affirms that he can endure his trials because of his relationship with God, “in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in Him.” (Ephesians 3:12)
Scripture teaches us this lesson – if we want to be more confident in ourselves, the key is to place our trust in God above all else. God’s faithful love for us is the sure foundation on which we can rest our courage, our daring and our self-confidence.