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My Top Ten Hymns

My third choice is another hymn of praise and worship.

3. Be Thou My Vision - Translated: Mary E. Byrne; Versified: Eleanor H. Hull

Why one of my choices?

Another wonderful hymn calling that every moment of our lives, God should be our vision above everything else.

Memorial Stone I am the Resurrection and the Life

We so often forget that God is with us but this hymn reminds us that our thoughts should not stray from Him for long. We dream dreams and see visions of God and His purposes and these help guide our lives both as a church community and as individuals.

The lilting Irish melody gives great power to the words. It should be sung not too slowly. The 4/4 setting in Singing the Faith gives it an increased "folky" Irish feel particularly with guitars playing full belt.

Interestingly many hymn books omit verse three presumably due to its military conotations but it is retained on our Hymn book.


Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
be all else but naught to me, save that thou art -
thou my best thought, in the day and the night;
both waking and sleeping, thy presence my light.

Be thou my wisdom, be thou my true word;
Be thou ever with me and I with thee, Lord.
Be thou my great Father; thy child let me be,
Be thou in me dwelling and I one with thee.

Be thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight;
Be thou ever my whole armour, be thou my true might;
Be thou my souls shelter; be thou my strong tower:
O raise thou me heavenward, great Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor earth's empty praise;
Be thou mine inheritance, now and always;
Be thou and thou only first in my heart,
O soverign of heaven, my treasure thou art.

High King of heaven, thou heaven's bright Sun,
O grant me its joys, after victory is won;
Great heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
still be thou my vision, O Ruler of all.

Background to the Hymn

In the eighth century, a monk named Dallan Forgaill wrote the Irish poem, "Rop tu mo Baile" ("Be Thou my Vision"), to remember and honor the faith of St. Patrick. Forgaill was martyred but his poetry lived on as a part of the Irish monastic tradition for centuries.

In the early 20th century, two Irish Language scholars translated and versified the poem. Mary Elizabeth Byrne translated the poem into English, and in 1912, Eleanor Hull versified the text into its hymn format.