All I Ask of You is Forever to Remember Me as Loving You (Hymn)

A little while ago,  I shared one of my favorite songs here. It’s one I learned at one of the Dances of Universal Peace (DUP). See my earlier blog entry.http://www.flickr.com/photos/english106/4357753682/

Not long after my blog post, I got a lovely note from Gennyfer H. Over 20 years ago, she was attending a Young Friends program of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (Quakers). One of the Young Friends was leading an impromptu singalong, teaching the group the Sufi song Ishq Allah Mahabud Líllah. It reminded her of a Hymn: All I Ask of You, written by Gregory Norbet, then a monk at Weston Priory. She told the Friend about the similarity and sang it for him. At the end of the gathering they sang the Hymn chorus along with the Sufi part.

Deep the joy of being together in one heart
and for me that’s just where it is.

Chorus:

All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you.
All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you.

As we make our way through all the joys and pain,
can we sense our younger, truer selves?

All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you.
All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you.

Someone will be calling you to be there for a while.
Can you hear the cry from deep within?

All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you.
All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you.

Laughter, joy and presence: the only gifts you are.
Have you time? I’d like to be with you.

All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you.
All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you.

Persons come into the fiber of our lives,
and then their shadow fades and disappears.

All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you.
All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you.

Source: Hymn, located and shared by Gennyfer H.

About ten years ago, while she was trying to find a local Conversations with God gathering, she came across a mention of the song in an online discussion group. It was only then that she realized that the song had continued and spread, like the ripples from a stone dropped into calm water.

Gennyfer went on to share with me that she will soon be joining in a reunion with classmates who had sang the first song together: “In thinking about my upcoming reunion I was feeling nostalgic and thinking that my classmates might enjoy knowing how the songs had merged and traveled. I did a search to see if it was still around and found your blog. With the gracefulness of serendipity, my search was two days after you posted. Whenever I think about this song that I have sung as a lullaby to my children quite often and at the side of my mother’s bed as she left us, I feel honored to have been given the chance to truly understand how we are all connected. In this time where human separation in religious beliefs seems so heightened I hope that the moment when I was present enough to get past my adolescent shyness and sing this song in front of a group of my peers whom I had just met, that I have somehow been part of an opportunity for healing.

Thank you, for reminding me.”

Thank you, Gennyfer, for taking that risk those years ago so this song and related dance could reach so many others, and also for letting me know about its history.

33 thoughts on “All I Ask of You is Forever to Remember Me as Loving You (Hymn)

  1. Hello:

    Do you happen to have the melody to this hymn. I am Roman Catholic and this is one of my favorite hymns. However, my version……same lyrics…..was written by monks at the Weston Priory in Weston, Vermont. I am curious as to whether it is one in the same as you have noted it as Gregorian.

    Deborah

  2. Hi Deborah!

    It’s one of my favorites, too. I don’t have sheet music, but here’s a snippet for the line: “All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you.”

    CCCD C. cded cbcb A.. gabC..

    (lower case are eights notes, caps are quarter notes, caps with elipsis are longer)

    I’d love to hear the full, tune. If you come across the sheet music, can you tell me where I might find it?

    Thanks!

  3. Greetings!

    I, too, have loved this song since originally hearing it at my father’s funeral mass in 1990.

    You can hear it on the website for the Weston Priory, westonpriory.org. Once there, it will give you the option of listening to some of their music, and thankfully, this is one of those offerred. You may also be able to download the song, and possibly purchase the sheet music.

    I hope this helps you both…….it is certainly a beautiful song.

    Melanie

  4. Melanie,

    Thanks for the suggestion to see the Weston Priory website westonpriory.org. You’re right, it’s easy to hear (and order) the tune there.

    It’s a wonderful performance they give to the original “All I Ask Of You” song, prior to the arrangement merged with Ishq Allah Mahabud Lillah.

    Do you happen to know if it was originally composed by the Weston Priory? If not, do you know when it was composed, and who composed it?

    Thanks!

  5. I cannot tell you how much this hymn means to me. Thank you for enabling me to hear it sung tonight. I so wish I could download it, but that is not an option. In any event, I just added the website to my favorites so I can listen to it as long as it is kept on their website. Thank you again.
    Sincerely, Sheila

  6. You’re welcome!
    Doesn’t the Weston Priority do a nice job with this wonderful song? I’d love to find other performers and performances, too. If anyone knows of others, please let me know and I’ll share the link here.

  7. Today is ( would have been ) my 25th anniversary. What a “gift” to me to find this song after such a long time! My husband was killed in a horriific accident at work, nearly 10 years ago. Someone picked this song and had it played at my husband’s memorial service. I still ,to this day, do not know who did that, but it moved all of us to tears. I have had trouble finding it, as it is one of the “gregorian” hymns whose nos. are large. I love that you posted exactly how to find it, listen to it and several versions of it, as well as how to find the lyrics and sheet music. Thanks so much for helping to make this a brighter day !

  8. I first heard the combination of Norbert’s “All I ask of you” with the Sufi Zikr “Ishq Allah” in 1992 at a NeoPagan gathering in the Washington DC area, called Ecumenicon.

    It was part of the closing circle ritual, and it was extremely moving.

    As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned to examine some of the cultural appropriation that has occurred and still occurs in some new religious movements, so I try to honor the people from whom these two disparate songs came.

  9. Very happy to find this story from Gennyfer H. about this origins of the Dances of Universal Peace verison! I’ve been a Dance leader for years, but this was the very first Dance I ever did and it has a unique and powerful place in my heart. It’s what led me to pursue Dances of Universal Peace more, and to make them a major part of my life.

    I’ve been in touch with Gregory Norbet about the inspiration for the words, which I’ve heard attributed to Muktananda’s dying words to his followers.

    Gregory confirmed that these beautiful words are his, inspired from “meditating on the life and mission of Jesus. The refrain relates to the spirit of his preparing his followers for his leave-taking (his death). Hence his words to reassure his followers that his love would be with them always.”

    I would love to be in touch with Gennyfer H. to find out more about the original melody of the Sufi song part. I’ve heard quite a few “versions” over the years, and would love to go back to the source. Is it be possible to reach her?

    Thanks!

  10. Hi Nurluna!
    Thanks for shedding more light on this wonderful song – and songs! I find it amazing how this song and these words have woven their way through so many lives, strengthening connections and inspiring many.
    I’ll see if I can find the message I got from Gennyfer H. awhile back so I can try to connect you. Then maybe we can all learn a little more about the history behind the other part of this combination celebrated in some circles.

  11. Wonderful! Thanks so much for your help with this…

    The Dances of Universal Peace journal has asked me to write an article about this song/dance, and if I can connect with Gennyfer H. in the next week or so, I can include the original musical notation along with the article. Submission deadline is Dec 10.

    Thanksgiving Blessings to all!

  12. I am 76 years old and just learned how to access this blog. When my Mother died in 1975 they played the song “All I Ask of You” Thank you so much for allowing me to find the words and the website of the Weston Priory. Blessing and Thanks to All.

  13. I was taught the Dances of Universal Peace and Ishq Allah Mahabud Lillah on Kaui’i one full moon night in a cave past Hanalei. I have passed it on although I think I mixed it up a bit. I wonder where to hear a recording?

  14. this song has been on my mind since the day of my fathers funeral . A very trying time for myself and my sister ,especially since i had the misfortune of finding him deceased in his home . It was a total shock and still is very difficult at times but the words of this song have comforted me . If anyone knows of a place to buy a cd or download of this song I would appreciate that information .

  15. One of my best friends lost her husband in a tragic work-related accident. Several months later their eldest daughter got married, and one of the priests sand “All I Ask Of You.” Last week, as we were planning my mother’s funeral I tried so hard to find this song, and wasn’t able to. But now that I have located this site, I was wondering if there is piano sheet music available for this hymn.

    Thank you.

  16. Wonderful entry, thank you so much whomever’s hands guided me here tonight.

    Having just attended a fabulous weekend tantric workshop (Radical Ecstasy by Dossie Easton), I’ve been trying to track down this refrain that we sang in circle at parts of the journey over the weekend. It struck a chord with me, too.

    Thank you for enlightening me to the history, which my own research has verified as such:

    (part Catholic Hymn by Gregory Norbet, 16 years a Benedictine Monk)

    “All I ask of you is forever to remember me, as loving you”

    (and part Sufi Zikr “Ishq Allah”)

    Ishq Allah Mahabud Lillah

    It made me weep with joy, and does so again now. Beautiful. (not a Catholic or a dancer/singer!) ~doffs cap~
    DK

  17. It was played at my Dad’s funeral 30 years ago and the melody still stays with me. I wanted it played at my Mom’s funeral a few years ago, but was not able to locate it. Thank you for leading me to this song and lyrics again.

  18. It is indeed very easy to order at the Weston priory site, as I did last yr. when my Dad passed. My first encounter with it was when it was played anonymously by a dear family member at my husband’s funeral back in ’99. There are many that move in the line up of gregorian chants , but this one will always be special to me.
    Sorry for all the losses in your lives, friends. Aren’t we glad we can find comfort and support?

  19. I first heard and danced to this song at an Opening the Heart Workshop ( Robert Gass) one weekend in 1989 in central Mass. and I have sung it to my wife on special occasions. Its simple melody has a warmly haunting way of staying in your mind and softening one’s heart. Very powerful. Now this song is leading me to learn of the Universal Dances of Peace.

  20. Thanks. That must have been a wonderful workshop, as it seems to have held your heart wide open. I’m glad to hear that you’re still sharing what you heard. The song affected me similarly and still echoes around my own heart.

  21. it seems this one has touched many of us that is just so awesome to me tho it doesn’t come as a surprise after all isn’t that what music is s’posed to do?

  22. I remember singing this song during a presentation in honor of the graduating 8th grade students at my school. I was in 7th grade at the time. The chorus never escaped me. “All we ask of you is to remember us as loving you.” I also recall the verse “Deep the joy of being together in one heart…” It’s amazing that I still retain this in my mind after 30+ years of my life.

  23. Wonderful story. Thanks for sharing it – and that it’s been 30 years. I’ve been amazed, too, to hear how many have been touched by these simple lyrics. It’s something to think that echoes of a song can span years.

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