All Through the Night

Well, I went to a party tonight and started writing late, so fell asleep. It’s now after 1:00 am. This happens to me on occasion and reminds me of times I fell asleep on the sofa as a child; then Dad would carry me into bed. Last year when on a pilgrimage across the county, I was so excited to meet a spiritual companion, I couldn’t sleep. Finally, in the middle of the night I searched YouTube for one of my favorite hymn tunes, AR HYD Y NOS. I found a version of this Welsh melody beautifully sung by Bryn Terfel: Playing it over and over, I finally fell asleep. This familiar tune is set to several different texts; the poetic hymn text below paraphrases several traditional evening prayers.

Day is done, but love unfailing dwells ever here; shadows fall, but hope, prevailing, calms every fear. God, our Maker, none forsaking, take our hearts, of love’s own making; watch our sleeping; guard our waking; be always near.

Dark descends, but light unending shines through our night; you are with us, ever lending new strength to sight: one in love, your truth confessing, one in hope of heaven’s blessing, may we see, in love’s possessing, love’s endless light!

Eyes will close, but you unsleeping watch by our side. Death may come; in love’s safekeeping still we abide. God of love, all evil quelling, sin forgiving, fear dispelling, stay with us, our hearts indwelling, this eventide. ~ James Quinn, SJ

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