Be Thou My Vision, the Song and the Story

Composer Dallan Forgaill writes Be Thou My Vision

St. Patrick Snake
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St. Patrick (385-461 AD) was a man zealous for the things of God. As a missionary, he defied an Irish King's edict that restricted the lighting of candles on Easter Eve. King Logaire of Tara had decreed that no one was allowed light any fires until a pagan spring festival was launched by the lighting of a fire on Slane Hill. Patrick chose to honor God in spite the threat of death. King Logaire was so impressed with Patrick's brave devotion, he let him continue his missionary work unhindered.

An 8th Century Monk, Dallan Forgaill penned the words to Be Thou My Vision, as a tribute to St. Patrick's wholehearted loyalty to God. The hymn was translated from Irish to English in 1905 by Mary E. Byrne. In 1912, Eleanor H. Hull arranged the song into the verse most commonly found in English hymnals today. The music to accompany the lyrics is an ancient Irish folk tune called Slane.

Be Thou My Vision

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, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul's Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

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.

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Written by: Connie Ruth Christiansen

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