Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me, save that thou art:
thou my best thought both by day and 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 soul's shelter, and thou my high tow'r,
raise thou me heav'nward, O Pow'r of my pow'r.
Riches I heed not, nor vain, empty praise,
thou mine inheritance, now and always:
thou and thou only, the first in my heart,
great God of heaven, my treasure thou art.
Light of my soul, after victory won,
may I reach heaven's joys, O heaven's Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
still be my vision, O Ruler of all.
Yesterday's reflection pointed out that the origins of this hymn date back to 5th Century Ireland. There was a revolutionary message in the original language of "High King" that we've now lost. Irish culture of that time was centered on the limitless power of the king. Dr. Michael Hawn of Perkins School of Theology writes, "It was on Slane Hill in County Meath around 433 CE that St. Patrick lit candles on Easter Eve, defying a decree by High King Logaire of Tara that no one could light a fire before the king signaled the beginning of the pagan spring festival by lighting a fire on Tara Hill. King Logaire was so impressed by Patrick's devotion that, despite his defiance, he was permitted to continue his work as Ireland's first Christian missionary."
The courage to set one's vision--and one's life--on God above all else brings the power of this world to its knees, sometimes even in admiration.