It seemed like a good place to start, a good way to look forward. Four people requested this one – although none told me why. It’s a lovely tune and has some dandy words (buckler doesn’t come up all that often!). Based on the ancient Irish melody and poem, Rob tu mo bhoile, e Comdi cride, the text was translated by Mary Elizabeth Byrne in 1905.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, be thou my true word; I ever with thee, and thou with me, Lord. Thou my great Father, thy child may I be, Thou in me dwelling, and I one with thee. Be thou my buckler, my sword for the fight. Be thou my dignity, thou my delight, Thou my soul’s shelter, thou my high tower. Raise thou me heav’nward, O Pow’r of my pow’r. Riches I heed not, nor vain 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, when vict’ry is won May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heav’n’s Sun! Heart of my heart, whatever befall, Still be my vision, O ruler of all.
To me, this hymn speaks of the strength to be found in allowing whatever secures one’s soul and spirit to be a guide through all we live. Faith, beliefs and values can be both powerful and comforting if we allow them to inform the many decisions to be made every day. These words speak of that power as well as the dignity, delight, shelter, wisdom, joy and vision that comes from a deep commitment to living what is in our hearts. And so I begin my year of song.