"Be Thou My Vision" is a hymn derived from an 8th century Irish folk song. It expresses a desire for God’s hand in our lives and a longing to be in His presence. The first words are credited to Dallan Forgaill in a work entitled, Rob tu mo bhoile, a Comdi cride. Mary Bryne, in Dublin, Ireland, first translated the entire Irish folk song into English in 1905. Eleanor H. Hull converted the lyrics to "Be Thou My Vision" into verse in 1905.
The folk song got its start in Ireland around 433 AD, when on the night before Easter; St. Patrick defied a royal decree by lighting candles. High King Logaire of Tara had traditionally lit a fire beginning a pagan spring festival. It was his order that no one could light a fire before him on this night. When Logaire learned of St. Patrick’s arrogance, he was so impressed he let him continue services.
Because of St. Patrick’s bravery, or perhaps ignorance, "Be Thou My Vision" has come from being a simple folk song to a hymn that is known for its gentleness. It is through tales such as these, time seems to disappear when we are confronted with the work of an Almighty God.
Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, and I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High king of heaven, my treasure Thou art.
High king of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O ruler of all.
Ancient Irish hymn; © Public Domain
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