The Incarnation is the mystery of human nature divinized, and the goal of the Christian life is “union with that mystery, whereby we are made partakers of the Incarnation.” Learning from the Fathers how to see, as well as how and where to look, is a form of instruction in the character of that mystery, but this seeing, this reading, is also a way to come to share in, to participate in, the truth that is known. The basic insight of the incarnational approach is that the truth that is known is also the life into which one is drawn by participation, sanctification, and illumination.
C.S. Lewis offers a wonderful description of this desire for union, a desire for a sacramental or real connection rather than an external or nominal one:
We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words — to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.
Recovering the patristic approach to Scripture is not just Bible-reading, but a means of progressing into what we learn to see. For the Tractarians, reading the Bible was a form of instruction, and also a means of sacramental participation with the Word who speaks in the words and who is manifest in the histories, people, institutions, and rites of the Scriptures. Newman, Keble, and Pusey affirmed the “real presence” of Christ not only in the sacramental elements, but also, in a different way, in the lettered body of the Scriptures.