116 Chapter 9
NATURE IS GRACE
needed a reminder. This shows that all your hard work up to this point
is paying off: Fr. Keefe's crazy ideas are actually starting to register
The priority of the Eucharist to all reality is a point that will be
taken up again at the end of the next chapter, but for now, let's take a
look at some implications of this that are relevant to this chapter.
There isn't any 'ungraced' Nature -- no 'flesh' that is not redeemed
by the One Sacrifice. Similarly, the only kind of 'Grace' that is not
already in intimate, nuptial, covenantal relation to 'flesh' is a
supposedly time-less variety of 'Grace,' and that sort of 'Grace' always
belongs in Mr. Minsky's middle box.
'Nature' has no existence apart from Grace. It never had existence
apart from Grace, and it never will. 'Flesh' has its entire reality in and
through the New Covenant, and 'flesh' has no existence outside that
Eucharistic Event. No 'flesh' exists apart from its free relation to the
Lord of history.
Every day, at every Mass, Man can freely appropriate reality itself,
sanity itself: 'flesh' is real, and is sane -- it receives real life, sane life --
in and through its free relation to the 'One Flesh' in the One Sacrifice.
So, we need to remember two things. One, 'flesh' was created in
and through the New Covenant, and, though fallen, fully retains its
covenantal, nuptial, intimate relation to the New Covenant in and
through the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist. Two, as Chapter 8
showed, 'flesh' has a free -- that is, a ridiculously free -- relation to the
Eucharist, the New Covenant in our 'now.'
The intimate relation of 'flesh' with Grace, and further, 'flesh's'
ridiculous covenantal freedom, its surprising free creativity even in its
subordination to Grace, means that Grace is the truly natural.
In a word: only within dehistoricized cosmologies -- within which
no free, nuptial, covenantal, surprising, or creative relation can ever
exist -- does the subordinate status of 'Nature' affect the freedom and
creativity of its relation to Grace. Reality as given is "full of grace."
(All allusions to the Mother of God, and to the Immaculate Conception
and the Assumption, in the preceding are, of course, intentional. What
can only be allusions here are given intimate and wonderful treatment
as part of the vocabulary and the thought of Covenantal Theology.)
As fully itself, given in the Eucharistic Event, 'flesh' is the perfect
mediator of Grace, a perfection so perfect that the truly natural is
Grace itself. While the capacity of 'flesh' to be the perfect mediator of
Grace is, in our fallen world, fully realized only in the public work or
prayer of the Church, it is fully realized there. In the Eucharist, Nature
is Grace, without any doubt: "This is My Body, This is My Blood."
However, 'flesh' is still just as ridiculous, gritty, messy, and sloppy
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.