108 Chapter 8
PLENTY TO DO
his One Sacrifice, "once for all," fully redeemed time, but not by
condemning, destroying, or refusing it -- as if something were wrong
Thus, if 'private' work or prayer is understood covenantally, that
work or prayer can not consist of a set of 'assignments' which God has
on a list somewhere, which we then 'freely' fulfill.
We need to remember (to requote part of the passage this chapter
began with) that Fr. Keefe says quite explicitly that "neither the Event
nor the response can be subsumed to any necessity whatever, whether
in God or in man."
To put this in a simple, homely fashion that nonetheless tries to be
true to Fr. Keefe's thought:
'private' work or prayer has to be a complete surprise,
even to God Himself, or it is not covenantal, not free.
A covenantal understanding of Man's freedom is thus consistent
with St. Paul's extraordinary remark. Even though Man is subordinate
to the Triune God, the freedom Man has in Christ is not a subordinate
type of freedom. Although that statement might be vigorously disputed
by centuries of Catholic theology, we do have some words in St. Paul
that are not too easily explained in the absence of a thoroughly
covenantal understanding: Man in the New Covenant can literally
complete "what is lacking" in Christ's afflictions.
This "completion" quite obviously has to occur as creation ex
nihilo. For how could Christ's afflictions be "lacking"? There is no
reason for Christ's afflictions to be "lacking" in any way. In fact
Christ's afflictions are not lacking in any way. This demands that St.
Paul "complete" them out of a creation ex nihilo, which, as we
mentioned in the previous chapter, also means "out of no necessity."
There is no reason for the Savior's afflictions to be "lacking." St.
Paul's "completion" can not in any way be called for or even remotely
predicted from the previous situation -- yet it is real.
In other words, it is complete surprise completely intelligible -- a
genuine mediation of grace. Therefore, and retrospectively, since St.
Paul's "completion" is real, Christ's afflictions are "lacking."
Although Fr. Keefe does not use St. Paul's statement as an
example, the train of thought just above is consistent with Fr. Keefe's
thought, which (again to requote part of the passage quoted at the
beginning of this chapter) is: "nor can we furnish any antecedent
account of the prior possibility of the Event or of the response: both are
given ex nihilo sui et subjecti . . . ." Note: the response too is given ex
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.