Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lead, Kindly Light

During his time as a young attorney in South Africa, Mahatma Ghandi (1869-1948) was an outspoken advocate of the civil rights of other expatriated Indians. One beating by a group of Afrikaaners put him in the hospital. During his recovery, he was visited by the hospital chaplain, a Baptist minister. Ghandi asked that the chaplain bring his daughter to visit, to be comforted by her singing of his favorite hymn.

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!

Today, the author of that hymn, John Henry Cardinal Newman, was declared “Blessed” by Pope Benedict XVI. The convert from Anglicanism is one step closer to sainthood.

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