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.
Words by Dallan Forgaill, 8th Century (though some date it to the 6th Century)
Music by Irish Folk Melody
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.”
Deuteronomy 6:4 – 9
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.
Proverbs 3:5 – 7
We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority.
1 Thessalonians 2:6
What does it take to become good at something? Well there’s repetition. We’ve all heard the old saying, “practice makes perfect.” That is actually half-true, my high school band teacher used to correct it to be “perfect practice makes perfect.” After all, if you practice the wrong thing, then you your simply going to get better at doing it wrong. In either case, what we see is that repetition allows us to make thing more automatic.
So maybe the key to getting better at something is to understand the theory behind what you are doing? If you want to become better at basketball, simply randomly throwing the ball toward the basket may allow you to make it part of the time, but when you start to understand the arch of the ball and the angles off the back board, then you can begin to see how every movement impacts the shot. Armed with this knowledge, you will begin to modify your movements to improve your shots.
So repetition plays a role in getting better at something and understanding the theory behind the activity can help improve your performance. I can think of a third means of getting better and that is necessity. Think about learning a new language. You can study the theory behind a language. How does it work? What are the rules? And you can memorize the words through repetition. But it you want to learn to speak a language naturally, then immersion is the way to go. When you are dropped in a situation that the only way to communicate is to learn the language, then you are driven out of necessity to learn it.
Repetition, theory and necessity, these three things are key to becoming better at something. To simplify it, I am left with one word, focus. You see when I have a singular focus, then everything I do begins to be centered around what I want to improve in. Singular focus begins to give us purpose and direction in all that we do. This is the clear message behind the ancient prayer we know as “Be Thou My Vision.”
Forgaill writes, “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.” Look at that again, “By day or by night, waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.” As we hear these words we are reminded of the Shema, a central prayer of Judaism found in Deuteronomy 6:4 – 9. Verse 6 – 9 read, “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.” Our focus is to be on God at all times, in all that we do.
When we can place our focus on God we begin to realize that others things are not important. Forgaill writes, “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.” A truth that the Apostle Paul understood. In 1 Thessalonians 2:6 he writes, “We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else.” If our focus is on God, then we are not distracted by the opinions of others. Our actions are not determined by a concern of what others will think, but what God has called us to.
When we have a singular focus on God and his will for our lives, then we will grow in our relationship with Him. We will become more Christ like each day. As we grow, we join in the conclusion of this hymn, “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.”
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