Brian’s Reflection: Thursday, September 4, 2008
(Wo)Men can starve from a lack of self-realization
as much as they can from a lack of bread.
- Richard Wright, author, born on this day, 1908
Author of Native Son, Black Boy [autobiography], The Outsider, Uncle Tom’s Children and other books and stories, Richard Wright had tremendous influence on later writers of the African-American community. He was born in Mississippi in 1908; he died, mysteriously, in Paris, age 52.
The Bible says, [A human being] does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Meaning? I think it means that being human is essentially an inner matter. The body is an essential, precious, indispensible vessel, giving presence in Time to each of us. Life is a matter of discovering that “image of God” deep within ourselves which carries the light of what it means to be Human, fully human. Wright hints at two things when he speaks of “self-realization”. That we “wake up” to who we are meant to be. And, that we give all we have to incarnating the great Mystery of our Self.
This is the fundamental meaning of the Incarnation in the Christian Myth. The Mystery of the Incarnation is not about God taking a human form separate from us. It is about the Mystery of God flowering in every human soul – a part of us, integral to who we are. St. Paul seemed to glimpse this when he spoke of the Body of Christ. All humanity constitutes, each in our uniqueness, the all-encompassing Mystery we call God. This is how “God” fills all things.
Richard Wright wrote from the point of view of a human being whose humanity was being denied by racist attitudes - especially as driven by the Christian religion. If one of us is denied humanity, we are all denied humanity. Look around and see the consequences of this ignorance today.
All great religions call us to Enlightenment, to Transfiguration, to Unity with God. Shall we remain beasts, or shall we have the courage to accept the crown of godliness that awaits our head?