I have developed an affection for old hymns over the past few months, but this hymn has been a favorite of mine for a long time. I remember when I was little that my mom had an a cappella version of this song on cassette, and we would listen to it while working in the kitchen.
While I was in the middle school choir at my church, I was asked to sing the fourth verse of this hymn solo. Although, I tend to believe it was because I could remember all the words, not because I have a good singing voice.
Then, four years ago, my husband and I used this hymn at our wedding.
This hymn is Irish in origin, and is said to have been written in the 8th century by Dallan Forgaill. It was translated from the ancient Irish in 1905, and put into the present form in 1912. Like O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, this hymn was part of a monastic tradition, although I don't think the present melody was used until later.
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.
--all information from Cyber Hymnal and Wikipedia