Be Thou My Vision

From “My Master and My Friend” recording, and video

I like to sing this song to worship and praise the Lord.  It is very personal song with a message that reflects that wonderful bond between the child of God and our Heavenly Father. God is so magnificent, and yet, He still has a place for me in His heart.  May I always have a place for Him in mine.  Have you asked the Lord to cleanse your sin and come and live in your heart?  (Romans 10:8-13).

This beautiful song was written in honor of the great third century evangelist St. Patrick of Ireland (See story of the song below the lyrics.)…

1.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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

The History of “Be Thou My Vision”

The tune to this ancient hymn is entitled “Slane”, from an 8th Century Irish melody. The melody is named after Slane Hill – and to an event recorded in the lands history thought to be around AD 433. Tradition goes that the ruling King of the time (High King Logaire of Tara) had decreed that no one was allowed to kindle a fire until Logaire had lit his to announce the start of the pagan spring festival. However, St Patrick defied the royal order and lit candles on the Eve of the festival on Tara Hill (approximately ten miles from Slane Hill in County Meath). The King was so impressed by Patrick’s defiance that it he pardoned him and allowed him to continue his missionary work in Ireland. Patrick would go on to convert 100,000 people and establish 2,000 churches. No small feat for a man originally kidnapped by pirates and taken as a slave to Ireland!

The Words to “Be Thou My Vision”

The original words to the hymn date back as far as 6th Century Ireland, and to the prolific Irish writer Dallan Forgaill (c.530-598), with the original title ‘Rop t’ mo Baile’ . It is said that such was his zealousness for writing poetry and studying that it led to his blindness. In his day, Forgaill reformed the Baldic Order, helping to preserve the Gaelic traditional literature and language.

The original words of ‘Be Thou My Vision‘ recorded in Old Irish were used widely in the Monastic tradition before being set to music.

The next major development in the hymn came at the turn of the twentieth century, when Mary E. Byrne translated the Irish words into English, recorded in 1905 in the journal of the School of Irish Learning. Another scholar in 1912, Eleanor H. Hull (founder of the Irish Text Society), versified the words. This was to become the modern form of the hymn.

History article from Be Thou My