O hope of every contrite heart

These are some of the lesser-known stanzas from the hymn “Jesus the Very Thought of Thee” by Bernard of Clairvaux: the rest is here.

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!

But what to those who find? Ah, this
Nor tongue nor pen can show;
The love of Jesus, what it is,
None but His loved ones know.

When once Thou visitest the heart,
Then truth begins to shine,
Then earthly vanities depart,
Then kindles love divine.

O Jesus, light of all below,
Thou fount of living fire,
Surpassing all the joys we know,
And all we can desire.

Jesus, may all confess Thy Name,
Thy wondrous love adore,
And, seeking Thee, themselves inflame
To seek Thee more and more.

4 thoughts on “O hope of every contrite heart

  1. Impressed with your website, and your clear testimony for the Lord Jesus Christ. And you hit the nail on the head with regard to your attitude toward your physical infirmity. No harm in asking, “Why, Lord?”–though He may not give us the answer. But a more important issue is, “What, Lord? What are you trying to teach me? And what can you accomplish through me now, for Your glory?”

    Are you familiar with these two websites:


    Both are Christian organizations that minister to those with chronic illness. My wife, who has several debilitating conditions to contend with, writes devotionals for the first, and regularly ministers to others on the second through its chat room. Perhaps you could encourage others through one or the other.

    As to the hymn you quote. Sometimes, “O Hope of Every Contrite Heart” is printed as a separate hymn. Sometimes the verses are included in the hymn, “Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee.” And today is the 856th anniversary of the death of Bernard of Clairvaux, to whom the words are attributed. To find out a bit more, you can check out my daily blog, Wordwise Hymns.

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