|Bianco da Siena, who lived in Venice, wrote ninety-two hymns during the early 1400s, publishing them in a book entitled Spiritual Hymns. Four centuries later (1867), an English priest, Richard Littledale, discovered da Siena’s hymns, translated a number of them into English, and included them in a hymnal entitled The People’s Hymnal.
This hymn is a prayer—an impassioned plea for God to come down from heaven to reside in our hearts and set our hearts afire with a holy flame. It prays that God will shine a glorious light to illumine our pathway. It hopes for hearts full of yearning for God’s grace—something that can happen only when love creates a place for the Holy Spirit to dwell within our hearts.
As we sing this hymn today, let its prayer become your prayer—a prayer for God to come into your heart —to set your heart afire with a holy flame —to illumine your pathway—so that the Holy Spirit might live within you—so that we might truly become God’s people.
Copyright 2006, Richard Niell Donovan