So, here is another 'definition' of 'private' work or prayer that may
help to convey more of the flavor of "covenantal" and "free":
      Prayer is the lifting up of one's heart and mind to God in and
through the New Covenant, and consists of Man's completely free
and inexhaustibly fruitful "searching" to complete in his flesh what
is lacking in Christ's afflictions.
      You may yourself have heard the following pious formulation,
which I heard fairly often in my youth:
      "Pray as if everything depended on God;
      Work as if everything depended on you."
Well, which is it? I sometimes wondered. Which "as if" is correct?
      The idea of a completely free, unnecessitated, gifted, covenantal
relationship was not available from the pulpits or from the catechisms
and tracts when I was young.
If everything depended on God, then our work was
clearly unnecessary.
If everything depended on us, then
God clearly was unnecessary.
      Thus the mantra-like "as if."  It had the function of anesthetizing
the mind, so that it no longer focused so plainly on a profound
intellectual incoherence within the Catholic thought available to me as
I was growing up. For the intellectual foundation of that thought is the
same as the one that leads to Mr. Minsky's and Ecclesiastes's Real
World. Just look at the picture! In it, clearly, either God belongs in Mr.
Minsky's middle box, or Man does. As soon as only the necessary is
meaningful, the incoherent "as if" also becomes necessary, just so Man
can make it through the day.
      There is no intellectual and scientific explanation of 'private' work
or prayer without a complete re-turn of Catholic thought to Eucharistic,
sacramental, covenantal reality. Try as we might, we can not make our
work or prayer anything more than 'flesh,' completely continuous with
bread and wine. This, of course, is exactly the point -- our complete
continuity with the bread and wine which becomes the Body and
Blood of the Lord.
      However, our 'private' work or prayer is not something 'really'
trivial that becomes meaningful by condescension -- Daddy putting the
creations of the Kids on the refrigerator door. "In Christ," and
therefore, still in the 'flesh,' we are "lifted up" such that in that 'flesh'
we complete what is lacking in his afflictions. This can only be so if

N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.

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