HOW TO USE CHAPTERS
5 - 7
Chapter 7, "Regarding Our Story So Far," is just that: a summation
and elaboration of the ideas covered so far. It's a chapter which
assumes that you've absorbed a great deal of the vocabulary and
thoughts already presented. I know that is asking a lot. Read it, cut
yourself some slack, and go on to Chapter 8.
But do try to notice the three main ideas in Chapter 7, because I
will be using them often in the remainder of the book. The first is a
single word, "vanity." It turns out that Ecclesiastes knew exactly what
Mr. Minsky is saying -- and agreed with it. If we can't take Mr. Minsky
seriously, we had better take Ecclesiastes seriously, because until we
do, we are going to be apologizing for our grandmother's faith.
The second big idea in Chapter 7 is really a reminder: Christ's life,
death, and resurrection aren't an 'example' of some time-less truth.
There simply isn't anything prior to the New Covenant, to his acts in
time as 'One Flesh' with his Bride. This is an idea that is solidly
familiar to Catholics by faith, but it is an idea that can not be made
intelligible, let alone systematically coherent, within any time-less
framework. Accordingly, present day Catholic theology, locating itself
within various time-less frameworks, has a lot of intellectual work to
do -- something that Chapters 8 - 12 will be pointing out in more
However, the really big 'idea' in Chapter 7 is not an idea, but a
reality, the Eucharistic 'order' of history: 'flesh,' 'One Flesh,' life. Fr.
Keefe reminds us that this 'order' is the New Covenant by which we
are free. He also reminds us that the Eucharist is, "one and the same,"
the New Covenant. The Eucharist is, exactly, the living re-presentation
in sacramental sign of the New Covenant, or our faith is in vain. The
Eucharistic Event is the One Sacrifice that establishes the Eucharistic
'order' of history. The sacramental names of that same 'order' are:
Offertory, Consecration, Communion.
These next three chapters may make for difficult reading, but
perhaps not for the same reasons that the first four do. For although it
may be hard to come to understand what Fr. Keefe is driving at, it may
be harder still to face what he is saying, once it is understood. The
world simply doesn't add up in the way we often assume that it does.
We don't have and will never find a 'something' to depend on -- some
time-less theory or plan that will make it all better. We do have a
Someone to depend on, who, in and through the Church's free liturgical
mediation of her faith, continues to act in history, as its crucified and
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.