S GUIDE TO COVENANTAL THEOLOGY
We should be very glad of this, for in all dehistoricized and
cosmological 'Heavens,' we are somehow supposed to enjoy an
"eternal bliss" of being utterly useless. All these 'Heavens,' by making
us utterly useless, thus are the total removal of our freedom,
responsibility, creativity, individuality, and dignity. They are also the
total removal of novelty: all these 'Heavens' are -- intentionally, by
their fundamental principles, by their deepest yearnings, by everything
that makes them what they are -- totally boring.
Following up on what St. Therese said her work would be in
Heaven, or rather, what it would be even or especially in Heaven, we
can say that the work of Christians is their free personal response to the
free Event of the New Covenant; that is, it is their prayer, or rather it is
their work as prayer, and their prayer as work.
Although Fr. Keefe doesn't use these exact words, it would not be
unfair to his thought to distinguish the public work or prayer of the
Church, the Event of her free liturgical mediation of her faith, from
'private' work or prayer, the ultra-personal free response of the
Christian to that free public work or prayer.
Thus the traditional definition of prayer need only be expanded
slightly to remove any suggestion that it is a 'time-less,' dehistoricized,
anti-mediated activity, and to accept its reality as a free, historical,
covenantal, mediated response to a "radically historical" covenantal
Prayer is the lifting up of one's heart and mind to God in and
through the New Covenant.
Work which is not the public work (the liturgy) of the Church is
therefore "private," which of course does not suggest 'private' as non-
relational, but 'private' as subordinate in the Eucharistic 'order' to the
Church's public work (the sacramental re-presentation of the Event of
the New Covenant), and 'private' as a free response to that public work.
This non-public, but never anti-public, work is 'private' prayer.
The 'private' work of Christians, which we are here saying is at root
only a different name for their 'private' prayer, is a "quaerens," a
"searching," nor is that searching limited to the theological sphere:
The quaerens is not per se theological, for it is inseparable from
the faith and may find concrete expression in any dimension of the
Christian existence, of the Christian worship in truth, none of
which can exhaust it, and all of which can mediate it.
1. CT, p. 120.
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.