Calm Light Of Everlasting Life


The title of this post is actually the last line of a hymn titled Lead Kindly Light, written by Bl. John Henry Newman in 1833. I have always loved this prayerful poem and would like it read at my funeral when that God~appointed time comes.
I had been reading some of the history behind the hymn and so was going to post it at some point. Then this morning I saw it again in Fr. Gordon MacRae's post over at These Stone Walls so I figured I was being spirit nudged to post it now. On a side note, Fr. Gordon's post has some very good reflection on the Magi as well so please head over to check it out and maybe offer him a Christmas prayer.
Back to the poem... in my reading about this hymn, one thing I did not know was that it was sung by a soloist on the RMS Titanic during a hymn singing gathering led by Rev. Ernest C. Carter. In John Henry Newman's own words, here is why and when he wrote the hymn: 
Before starting from my inn, I sat down on my bed and began to sob bitterly. My servant, who had acted as my nurse, asked what ailed me. I could only answer, "I have a work to do in England." I was aching to get home, yet for want of a vessel I was kept at Palermo for three weeks. I began to visit the churches, and they calmed my impatience, though I did not attend any services. At last I got off in an orange boat, bound for Marseilles. We were becalmed for whole week in the Straits of Bonifacio, and it was there that I wrote the lines, Lead, Kindly Light, which have since become so well known. 
Aside from funerals, this poem has also always made me think of Christmas because Christ is our Savior whose sole purpose in coming was and is to be the Light that will save us and lead us to our heavenly home.You can read more about John Henry Newman and the hymn here.

Here is the hymn:

Lead, Kindly Light
"Lead, Kindly Light, amidst th'encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou
Shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on.
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!

Meantime, along the narrow rugged path,
Thyself hast trod,
Lead, Saviour, lead me home in childlike faith,
Home to my God.
To rest forever after earthly strife
In the calm light of everlasting life."

Comments

Colleen said…
Very beautiful. Thank you! Have a blessed Christmas!