110     Chapter 8    
      The next two chapters will illustrate this idea a little further, but
here note two things. First, unless Nature is Grace; that is, unless
"Nature" means the Eucharistic `order' of history, then the paradigm of
dehistoricized cosmology becomes inevitable:
< - - - Nature
The Eucharist is over here,
< - - - and here we are, standing
some place else, in the 'normal
universe,' looking at it, and trying to
understand it.
      Second, if and only if reality is covenantal as just described, if and
only if Nature Is Grace, then and only then, 'private' work or prayer can
have meaning. The `Nature' available within any dehistoricized
cosmology whatever, including any accepted by any Catholic
theologian, whatever his renown or his personal holiness, is an
absolute horror. 'Flesh' apart from the Eucharistic 'order' of history is
insane, a no-thing. That `Nature' kills its own young, and strangles the
very idea of Man before it can even be uttered. In that `Nature,' Man
must become an idiot or a devil, just to make it through the day.
      As both Ecclesiastes and Mr. Minsky see, the very idea of Man
within 'flesh' having free, responsible work to do, is so absurd, that it
becomes Mr. Minsky's vanishing middle box: it is so absurd that the
very thought of free, responsible existence is not even really
formulable within 'flesh.'  In the end, all that 'flesh' can say on any
subject is the single word, "vanity."
      Yet, since Nature is Grace in the public work or prayer, the
Eucharistic Event, which is the free sacramental re-presentation, "one
and the same," of the New Covenant founded on the One Sacrifice,
then 'private' work or prayer has more meaning than we can ever get to
the end of discovering. God is not just generous -- he is crazy
generous, ridiculous generous. That is our faith, nothing less. Solely
because of God's utterly stupefying weakness, purely because of his
absurdly inexhaustible foolishness, St. Paul had plenty to do on Earth,
and St. Therese -- and St. Paul, and all the saints -- have plenty to do in

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