The photo banner above is taken of luminaries on the groundbreaking site before the construction of our new church building.
"Be Thou My Vision" is sung to an ancient Irish folk tune called "Slane," named after the Hill of Slane where St. Patrick boldly lit a fire or candles in 433 AD on the night before Easter. King Loegaire mac Neil had forbidden fires before a pagan festival, but St. Patrick's courage to so publicly ignore this taboo drew the king's respect. Rather than executing him as he'd planned, the king decided to release St. Patrick, even allowing him to evangelize.
No one is certain of the author of the original Irish poem "Rop tu mo Baile," but it is much like a medieval Lorica and "St. Patrick's Breastplate" (also called The Cry of the Deer, Faed Fiada), which is a prayer for divine protection. Some say that the 7th-century poet St. Dallan Forgaill could have written these lines while other researchers guess that it might have been written as late as 1100 AD. The battle metaphors likely point to the hostility felt by the early Christians in Ireland (400-800 AD) who were surrounded by feuding clans, hostile druids, spiritual attack, and Viking raiders. The imagery alludes to the heroic Christian God as a high king or chieftain, and the poem is a courageous statement of faith.
Mary Elizabeth Byrne was the first one to translate the ancient poetry into English in 1905. Later, Eleanor Hull adapted Byrne's translation into verse in 1912. Byrne's translation stays true to the original Irish repetition which begins many lines with the imperative verb "rop" in the Goidelic language, meaning "be." The words repeatedly affirm that the Lord is the poet's everything.
The Lord is our meditation, dreams, speech, father, shield, companion, possession, shield, dignity, shelter, stronghold, sword, delight, and so much more. We sang this hymn on Consecration Day, Sept. 8, but consider meditating on Byrne’s translation of the ancient poem this week along with the Scriptures provided here.
Be thou my vision O Lord of my heart. (Matt. 22:37-40)
None other is aught but the King of the seven heavens. (2 Cor. 12:2)
Be thou my meditation by day and night. (Isa. 26:9)
May it be thou that I behold even in my sleep. (Acts 2:17)
Be thou my speech, be thou my understanding. (Matt. 11:25-30)
Be thou with me, be I with thee. (Ps. 22:10-11)
Be thou my father, be I thy son. (Rev. 21:7)
Mayst thou be mine, may I be thine. (1 Jn. 3:1-2)
Be thou my battle-shield, be thou my sword. (Eph. 6:10-17)
Be thou my dignity, be thou my delight. (1 Cor. 3:16)
Be thou my shelter, be thou my stronghold. (Matt. 6:25-34)
Mayst thou raise me up to the company of the angels. (2 Kings 6:17)
Be thou every good to my body and soul. (Rev. 22:17)
Be thou my kingdom in heaven and on earth. (Luke 12:32)
Be thou solely chief love of my heart. (Jn. 6:27)
Let there be none other, O high King of Heaven. (Rev. 1:17-18)
Till I am able to pass into thy hands, (Col. 1:12)
My treasure, my beloved through the greatness of thy love (Rom. 8:17)
Be thou alone my noble and wondrous estate. (Ps. 16:5-6)
I seek not men nor lifeless wealth. (Eph. 1:18)
Be thou the constant guardian of every possession and every life. (Ps. 121:7)
For our corrupt desires are dead at the mere sight of thee. (Jn. 4:13-14)
Thy love in my soul and in my heart -- (Deut. 6:5)
Grant this to me, O King of the seven heavens. (Ps. 42:2)
O King of the seven heavens grant me this --(Isa. 6:1)
Thy love to be in my heart and in my soul. (1 Jn. 4:12)
With the King of all, with him after victory won by piety, (Rom. 8:31-32)
May I be in the kingdom of heaven O brightness of the son. (Col. 1:13)
Beloved Father, hear, hear my lamentations. (1 Jn. 5:14)
Timely is the cry of woe of this miserable wretch. (Ps. 66:19)
O heart of my heart, whatever befall me, (1 Jn. 3:20)
O ruler of all, be thou my vision. (1 Tim. 1:17)
written by a member of our church staff