Naught be all else, 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.
Ambling along the road back toward the pier I felt this song welling up within my heart. Remembering that I had the words tucked in my purse from last Sunday’s bulletin I pulled them out to read as I walked. Then I read them again. These words formed a prayer coming from deep within me.
This hymn was derived from an 8th century Irish folk song and stems from St. Patrick’s defiance of a royal decree by lighting candles. It had been the tradition for High King Logaire of Tara to light a fire beginning a pagan spring festival. It was his order that no one could light a fire before him on this night. Legends says that when Logaire learned of St. Patrick’s arrogance and heard the singing of ‘Be Thou My Vision’, he was so impressed he let him continue services.
For me, this song, my prayer, expresses a deep need for the presence of God in my life, my longing to be one with Him and that He and He alone is enough. He is my High King and my Treasure. My Vision, the Ruler of all.