The Very Thought of Thee
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.