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~Jesus, The Very Thought of Thee

       It is generally agreed that Bernard of Clairvaux was the greatest of the medieval leaders. He is said to have represented the best of monastic life of his time.

       In the sixteenth century Martin Luther wrote of Bernard that he was the best monk that ever lived, whom I admire beyond all the rest put together. Bernard’s influence was soon felt throughout Europe. It is said that he commanded kings, emperors, and prelates, and they obeyed him.

       In 1146, he was commissioned by the Pope to lead a second preaching crusade against the Moslems. With his eloquence and strong preaching, great crowds followed him.

       One of the conditions for those joining the Crusade was a personal conversion experience. It is recorded that multitudes of vicious men were changed through his preaching and carried a cross unashamedly as a symbol of their commitment to Christ and this Crusade.

       Bernard wrote a long 192-line poem entitled Dulcis Jesu Memorial (Joyful Rhythm on the Name of Jesus). From this poem Edward Caswall in the nineteenth century translated portions of the line for this hymn text.

—Kenneth Osbeck


       Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee


(1) Jesus, the very thought of Thee

With sweetness fills my breast;

But sweeter far Thy face to see

And in Thy presence rest.


(2) No voice can sing, no heart can frame,

Nor can the memory find

A sweeter sound than Thy blest name,

O Savior of mankind.


(3) O hope of every contrite heart,

O joy of all the meek,

To those who fall, how kind Thou art!

How good to those who seek!


(4) But what to those who find? Ah, this

No tongue or pen can show;

The love of Jesus, what it is

None but His loved ones know.


(5) Jesus, our only joy be Thou,

As Thou our prize wilt be;

Jesus, be Thou our glory now

And through eternity.







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