72 Chapter 5
ONE MODERN PESSIMISM
world of Mr. Minsky's ever-shrinking middle box.
It is a virtual certainty that you have been reading along, watching
the ideas of Covenantal Theology react against hoary 'truths,' reading
about Mr. Minsky's vanishing middle box, and thinking all along that
sooner or later I was going to get to the part where I explain the way
out of Mr. Minsky's Real World.
This is why I think Covenantal Theology is such an important
work, because it 're - turns' us to the only response that Catholics can
have to Mr. Minsky.
That world, our world, The Real World, is the very one into which
the Son of God "emptied himself," "taking the form of" -- what? Yes,
that's right: the form of a slave.
1. Philippians 2:7 NAB
For as Fr. Keefe shows at length so eloquently and creatively, the
Eucharist itself is the decisive demonstration that Mr. Minsky's middle
box is not real. The time-less does not exist. There is no way out of the
world of Cause and Chance. There is only a way 'in' to that world. That
way 'in' is the One Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of
Mary, sacramentally represented in the liturgical freedom of the
Church's mediation of her faith.
The Eucharist, by quietly but stubbornly remaining in time, is our
anamnesis (a reminder which makes real what it reminds us of) that,
while there is no time-less place -- so we can scarcely flee to one --
nevertheless, there is a "Eucharistic order of history." (Recall that the
full title of Fr. Keefe's work is Covenantal Theology: the Eucharistic
Order of History).
The New Covenant, the Eucharist, is therefore "radically
historical," in Fr. Keefe's phrase -- and he means radically. There is not
even one drop of time-lessness in the Blood of the Lord. Any flight to
the time-less -- and there have been numerous Christian and Catholic
such flights, also -- is contradicted by the quiet, stubborn 'time-fullness'
of the Eucharist itself.
Here it is very important to realize that Mr. Minsky states that Man
must flee to the time-less of his very nature. Mr. Minsky's middle box
can get smaller, but it can not vanish, lest Man destroy himself and
everything else. Thus the One Sacrifice, the Eucharist, not The Real
World as Man can find it, is the complete rejection of the time-less.
This also means that any rejection of Catholic sacramental realism --
however devout, however 'Christian' -- is a rejection -- even if it is an
inadvertent rejection -- of the whole of the revelation given in Christ,
because it is -- and it is this inevitably -- a flight to dehistoricized
cosmology, a flight to the time-less. Unless the Eucharist means
exactly what the Catholic Church proclaims it to mean, there is no way
'in' to time -- and all is lost.
2. The fullness of Jesus's entry into the futility of
'flesh' is here emphasized: he did not 'pretend.'
Nevertheless, he was free: "... I lay down my life,
that I may take it again. No one takes it from me,
but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power
to lay it down, and I have power to take it again;
this charge I have received from my Father."
[John 10:17-18 RSV] As Mr. Minsky notes, the
concept of 'responsibility' can not exist without
freedom. Nonetheless, Jesus found no 'free will'
in our slavery. Our acts in time can be responsible
and thus free -- but only because his acts in time
were and are. The possibility of our freedom is
created in and through his freedom, on his free
responsible acts in time. No time-less 'place' can
give us our free will, nor will any other acts in
time but his, for he and he alone is the Lamb of
God, the unblemished, the perfect, the responsible
sacrifice, by whose blood we are free. Jesus
Christ freely and fully sacrificed himself,
including his freedom. His One Sacrifice, re-
presented in the Eucharist, is the creation of our
true freedom; 'flesh' apart from his actual,
historical, living Sacrifice bravely and correctly
concludes not to its freedom and responsibility,
but to its slavery and irresponsibility, as Mr.
Minsky shows. No 'deduction' from fallen 'nature'
will ever discover 'free will,' the possibility of
responsible existence. As has been pointed out
here [also cf. Chapter 7], however inconvenient it
is to Catholic theology's intellectual assumptions,
this is not merely the increasingly substantiated
conclusion of 'godless modern science.' The
conclusion is inescapable as soon as the world is
divided into Cause and Chance -- a time-less
division that is Man's only available choice apart
from the Eucharistic 'order' of history.
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.