Secret to Living: Giving

A Story to Remember

One of my all-time favorite tales is “The Vision of Sir Launfal,” (James Russell Lowell, 1848). A young knight, steward in the legendary King Arthur’s court, is eager to win glory and fame. He sets out to find the Holy Grail [said to be a dish, plate or cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper]. Just outside the Fearsome Gate, he sees a leper.  Launfal shrinks from the loathsome sight, tosses the man a gold coin, and continues his quest.

Weeks become months, then years.  He continues his search, without success. At last, old and bent, clothed in rags, just before Christmas he turns his face homeward.  A leper huddles near the gate. The once-proud Launfal “parted in twain, his single crust.” He broke the ice of a nearby stream and gave the leper to eat and drink.

A light shines around them. The leper no longer crouches at Launfal’s feet, but stands before Sir Launfal, glorified.

A voice says, “Lo, it is I, be not afraid! In many climes, without avail, thou hast spent thy life for the Holy Grail. Behold, it is here, this cup which thou didst fill at the streamlet for Me . . .

“Not what we give, but what we share. For the gift without the giver is bare: Who gives himself with his alms feeds three–himself, his hungering neighbor, and Me.”

* * *

Sir Launfal awakens. He hangs his armor on the wall. He will take no journey to find the Holy Grail, for he has learned its real meaning just outside the Fearsome Gate: charity, the highest form of love.

* * *

As we look forward to celebrating Easter and the Resurrection, may we search for ways to bring hope and comfort to others.

7 thoughts on “Secret to Living: Giving

  1. Hello, Colleen.
    Leslie Peterson shared your blog with me. I look forward to following it – and you! Happy to find you still writing, sharing your talent & bearing fruit. God bless you!

    JoAnn Dunne

    Liked by 1 person

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