The Grail Code 
The Failure of Lancelot
The Failure of Sir Lancelot

Click on the image to enlarge it.

This tapestry—The Failure of Sir Lancelot, by Burne-Jones, Morris. and Dearle—must be glorious in color, but I have it only in black and white from a 1912 book called TapestriesTheir Origin, History, and Renaissance, by George Leland Hunter. The design, at least, is striking. The Holy Grail was one of Edward Burne-Jones’ favorite subjects; here he illustrates Lancelot’s closest approach to it. The Grail Mass is going on inside the chapel, but Lancelot sleeps through it, dimly aware that he is missing something terribly important but unable to stir.

Of course, the failure is only a step on the road to ultimate success. Lancelot dies a holy death, welcomed into heaven, where the feast of the Holy Grail goes on eternally. His failure here awakens his sense of unworthiness, and understanding our own unworthiness—our incapability of achieving the Grail without God’s grace—is the first step in becoming worthy. Our most disappointing failures are usually divine providence hard at work for our benefit.

3 Responses to “The Failure of Lancelot”

  1. The Holy Grail of True Knighthood « Mary Victrix Says:

    [...] in attaining the goal.  Gawain, for example, showed himself the fool for this very reason.  And Lancelot had to be taken down a few notches (many actually) before he was even granted a partial fulfillment [...]

  2. scofunhi Says:

    “Lancelot dies a holy death, welcomed into heaven, where the feast of the Holy Grail goes on eternally. His failure here awakens his sense of unworthiness, and understanding our own unworthiness—our incapability of achieving the Grail without God’s grace—is the first step in becoming worthy. Our most disappointing failures are usually divine providence hard at work for our benefit.”
    You can see more about that?

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