134 Chapter 9
NATURE IS GRACE
from the time-less. Of necessity the time-less excludes even the
possibility of the 'time-full' New Covenant and thus excludes the whole
history of covenantal relation, but the time-less is inevitably the 'place'
from which we contracept. Like Adam and Eve, we are 'free' to be as
time-less -- thus as pointless and destructive -- as we are able, but only
the Eucharistic Event creates history, meaningful time, on which it is
possible for us to make history, too: to create history in and through
But we fail to imagine the covenantal -- the ridiculously covenantal
-- character of his historical sacrifice unless we begin to imagine that
nonetheless our history, our responsibility, our crucifixion, can
complete what is lacking in his afflictions.
Because "This is My Body, This is My Blood" is literally true, then
nature, far from being an insanity, a no-thing, really is grace, in the
Eucharistic 'order' of history. Further, in that same ridiculously free
covenantal relation of 'flesh,' 'One Flesh,' and 'life' given in and
through the One Sacrifice, grace is the truly natural. Grace, the truly
natural, is 'time-full,' through and through. All this does have
consequences for us.
We are afraid of reality: afraid of time, afraid of our finitude, afraid
of our abject and total slavery in Cause and Chance -- and we should
be. After all, He was.
We are, of course, free to try to ignore our
knowledge of our slavery, just to make it through the day -- the
universe as Man can find it has plenty of room for idiots. It also has
plenty of room for devils -- intelligent beings who accumulate power
and seek control, even though they know that is utterly pointless. We
are also free -- quite sickeningly free -- to become devils instead of
idiots, quite free to say to ourselves that we are only becoming devils
because that's the only real choice, because becoming a devil is after
all the intelligent man's way of making it through the day.
1. And going a little farther, he fell on
the ground and prayed that, if it were
possible, the hour might pass from him.
Mark 14:35 RSV
However, by complete surprise completely intelligible; that is, by
grace, by the Lord of history's free acts in time, we do not have to
become idiots or devils, just to make it through the day. For we are
also free, as the saints have been free, to follow Him to the cross, free
to freely crucify ourselves into our time, into our 'now' -- for that is no
more -- and no less -- than what He does at Mass, every day.
Man has his existence solely in the 'time-full' Event of the New
Covenant, and, in that living historical sacramental covenantal Event,
Man is a being capable of a free response -- a being literally capable of
making history, of truly surprising not only himself, but even God.
Then and only then does St. Therese have plenty to do in Heaven.
Then and only then is covenantal existence real, Matrimony a
sacrament, grace the truly natural, and Man free.
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.