Around the year 400, a young Scottish boy named Patrick was kidnapped from his home in Britain and taken to Ireland as a slave. After several years, he escaped from his captivity and entered into ministerial training. Patrick was later called back to Ireland when he heard God speaking to him through a dream. Even though there were Christians already living on the emerald isle, he is credited with converting the Irish people from Celtic worship to Christianity.
St. Patrick, as he was later called, struggled somewhat in his evangelization of Ireland. As a missionary, he defied an edict set forth by King Logaire, which stated that no fires could be lit until the fires of a pagan spring festival were lit. St. Patrick ignored the edict and lit candles on the Saturday before Easter, choosing to honor God instead of the king. King Logaire heard about the devotion of Patrick to his God and was so impressed that he allowed him to continue his missionary work.
300 years later, Dallan Forgaill, an 8th century monk, wrote the words to the hymn Be Thou My Vision in honor of Patrick and his unwavering commitment to God. 1200 years after Forgaill wrote those words, it was translated into English by Mary E. Byrne. Seven years after the translation, Eleanor H. Hull arranged the lyrics to the ancient Irish folk tune called Slane. This morning, over 100 years later, I sang along to a recorded music video track of the song and was moved to tears.
Lord, may our faith and dedication make such a difference in the lives of those around us that 1600 years from now, people are still moved to tears from the wake of our existence.
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.
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.