Auden on the Incarnation

The Incarnation is the story of the Word being made flesh, the “enfleshment” of the Holy to provide us a model for our life. This incarnation has many dimensions. I like to think of it as the process of “coming down” from our head into our heart, dwelling in our flesh, the mind-body duality finding some degree of resolution. In some sense “coming down from on high” is coming down from our head into our guts, the Word being woven into the fabric of our day to day life. The Gospel becomes experience, no longer consisting of mere dogma that we have imbibed from our Christian culture. Read the following excerpt from W. H. Auden about this process, especially that powerful notion of “flesh and mind being delivered from mistrust.”

If…like your father before you, come
Where thought accuses and feeling mocks,
Believe your pain: praise the scorching rocks
For their desiccation of your lust,
Thank the bitter treatment of the tide
For its dissolution of your pride,
That the whirlwind may arrange your will
And the deluge release it to find
The spring in the desert, the fruitful
Island in the sea, where flesh and mind
Are delivered from mistrust.
(W. H. Auden “The Sea and the Mirror)


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