Down through the ages many great hymns have been written. Many of them have survived the centuries and decades and still minister to people today. This week's choice comes from the height of the Middle Ages, the period of history often called "The Dark Ages." The spiritual and moral darkness of the church had reached a new blackness. The institution founded by Christ some 1,000 years prior was mainly degenerate and corrupt. The moral standards of many of its prominent leaders were characterized by disgrace and shame. Yet within this system of religious confusion, God laid it upon the heart of a dedicated monk, Bernard of Clairvaux (1091- 1153) to write a devotional poem about his Lord. At an early age Bernard was known for his piety and scholarship. With his natural charms and talents, he had many opportunities open to him for a successful secular life. While still in his early 20s, however, he chose the life of a monk at the monastery of Citeaux, France. Within three years Bernard's forceful personality, talents, and leadership qualities were recognized, and he was asked to form other branches of this order throughout Europe. Within Bernard's lifetime, 162 other such orders were founded. One of these new monasteries was at Clairvaux, France, where Bernard was made its abbot. He remained there until his death in 1153. The English Translation of this hymn is attributed to Edward Caswall, (1814–1876). Meditate upon these great words this week which call us to love and worship Jesus, our hope and our only joy. Does the very thought of Him fill you with sweetness?
1. Jesus, the very thought of Thee
With sweetness fills my breast;
But sweeter far Thy face to see
And in Thy presence rest.
2. No voice can sing, no heart can frame,
Nor can the memory find
A sweeter sound than Thy blest name,
O Savior of mankind.
3. O hope of every contrite heart,
O joy of all the meek,
To those who fall, how kind Thou art!
How good to those who seek!
4. But what to those who find? Ah, this
Nor tongue or pen can show;
The love of Jesus, what it is
None but His loved ones know.
5. Jesus, our only joy be Thou,
As Thou our prize wilt be;
Jesus, be Thou our glory now
And thru eternity.
Listen to this hymn here. LISTEN