The words of God, expressed in the words of men, are in every way like human language, just as the Word of the eternal Father, when he took on himself the flesh of human weakness, became like men.
The Second Vatican Council, 'Dogmatic Constitution of Divine Revelation' 1
The substance, the means of art, is an incarnation: not reference but phenomena.
Denise Levertov, 'Origins of a Poem' 2
The incarnation contains within it a little joke on writers. For we discover that when we want to evoke religious experience, merely piling on the etherous superlatives—holy, mysterious, wondrous, glorious—does not work. In fact, it is decidedly counterproductive. Only when we are willing to get down to the nitty-gritty, returning to that manger stall, as it were, with its earthy smells, chill air, and a baby's cry, is it possible for our words to incarnate religious faith. Only then can our words invite the reader to discover, not ideas about the holy, but an experience of it.
The primary maxim of the contemporary writing workshop—'Show, do not tell'—has its correlative in the incarnation itself. If