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Be Thou My Vision

Updated: Feb 14, 2022

A Vision without a task is a dream

A task without a vision is drudgery

A vision with a task is the hope of the world (Anon)

The elegant tune for the text Be Thou My Vision is Irish. The tune name honors a hill where legend says St. Patrick challenged King Loegaire (pronounced Lee-ree) and Druid priests on Easter eve. Of course, while no documentation is available, many legends are based from actual events. In 433, the king decreed that no lighting from any source could be used in order to honor a pagan festival. Patrick refused. He climbed the tallest hill in the region and lit a mighty fire. By morning, the people saw the fire as well as St. Patrick’s refusal of the decree. He would only honor Christ.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:14 - 16

The original text is attributed to St. Dallan, a 6th century Celtic monk. Drawing upon his own life experiences, the initial “Be Thou” statement is particularly powerful. St. Dallan went blind during the prime of his life from excessive biblical study. Knowing this, the reader or singer of the text truly understands that physical power is nothing to the spiritual sight Jesus Christ provides. Dallan’s words speak directly to how Christ works in our lives.

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart

(Be) Thou my best thought, by day or by night

Be Thou my wisdom

Be Thou my true word

Be Thou my buckler, my sword for the fight

Be Thou my dignity

(Be) Thou my delight

(Be) Thou my soul’s shelter

Thou and thou only, first in my heart,

Ruler of heaven, my treasure Thou art

Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Proverbs 29:18

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