S GUIDE TO COVENANTAL THEOLOGY
instant, yet it is not necessitated or conditioned by anything. This is
impossible -- this is the surprise: a truly free Event which never flees
time even for an instant, that is nonetheless inexhaustibly intelligible.
The radical historicity, the radical freedom, of the Eucharist, and its
inexhaustible intelligibility, is central to all of Covenantal Theology,
Fr. Keefe calls all of Catholic theology back to that free Eucharistic
Event, and it is that free Eucharistic Event, and not some childish
irrationality, which Tertullian invokes when he defends the rationality
of Catholic sacramental worship, the rationality of the New Covenant:
Crucified is the Son of God; not shameful, because it is shameful.
And dead is the Son of God; it is trustworthy because it is absurd.
And He is raised from the tomb; it is certain, because it is
Tertullian, De carne Christi 5, 25-29. cf. CT, p.
607 n. 49.
"This is My Body, This is My Blood" are not words that can be
understood by standing 'outside' of them. There is no Bigger sentence
than those words. If they are true -- since they are true -- they are the
font of all the true, real, smart, grown-up words that can ever be
They proclaim, by an effective sign -- a sacrament -
- that the nature of reality itself is a surprise.
We need to get this straight, or nothing about Covenantal Theology
will ever make sense to us. "This is My Body, This is My Blood" are
sacramental words; that is, they do not 'merely' tell us what the
sacraments are like, or what the Church is like. They tell us what
reality is like, what we are like. If our theories of reality can not be
brought into correspondence with the nature of reality given us in the
sacraments by Christ himself, so much the worse for our theories.
The Eucharist is not only a reality, it is the beginning of all reality,
literally the font of all that is real -- and literally, the font of all that is
reasonable. It is, quite literally, the most important thing in the
universe (for one thing, because it really is in the universe, and not in
some time-less realm).
A good theological scientist starts there. He stands within the
Eucharist, within the full sacramental order given in and with the
Church, the Bride of Christ her Head, to understand -- not just the
Eucharist, not just the Church, but what reality is, and who we are. For
all of that, and nothing less, is what sacraments are the effective sign
of. Covenantal Theology asks nothing more of Catholic theology than
that it take the sacraments seriously -- but nothing less.
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.