Whenever we begin a new year, many folks make resolutions for the year ahead. They vow to lose weight, to exercise more, to follow a budget , to get out of debt, to spend more time with loved ones, and a variety of worthwhile goals. Unfortunately, many of these resolutions are broken or forgotten as the weeks pass by. But for those who do have the discipline to follow through, their lives can be enriched and improved. And with those positive results in mind, let me suggest that this week's hymn choice might be an appropriate prayer or goal for your spiritual life during 2013. St. Patrick (385-461 AD), a missionary, was a man zealous for the things of God. He chose to defy 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 started by the lighting of a fire on Slane Hill. But Patrick decided to honor God in spite of the threat of death. It is said that King Logaire was so impressed with Patrick's brave devotion that 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 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. Meditate carefully on the words this week and make them your prayer today and throughout 2013.
(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, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
(3) 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.
(4) 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.
(5) 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.
Listen to it being sung here. LISTEN