Be Thou My Vision
Attributed to Saint Dallan / English verses by Eleanor Hull (1912)
“I cried out to you, O Lord,” says the psalmist, “I said, You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living” (142:5). We are too accustomed to such words. What is the psalmist saying?
Everywhere else in the world, men want things from the gods, but otherwise they’d be far more comfortable if the gods stayed wherever they were. The old and honest pagan soldier Bardia, in C. S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces, tells the princess that he’s a pious man, that he does his duty by the gods, he gives them the proper sacrifices on the holy days, but that otherwise he figures that if he doesn’t meddle with them, they won’t meddle with him. If you were a Greek farmer, you might pour a wine-offering into the earth in honor of Ceres, the goddess of the harvest. That was so you’d get a good yield from your crops. It was not so that you would get Ceres herself. Even Odysseus, that man of many dodges, favored as he is by the cunning and dodgy goddess Athena, does not trust her implicitly, and…
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