S GUIDE TO COVENANTAL THEOLOGY
At the very moment Man hears of this impossible possibility, proclaimed and made actual in the Church's
worship, Man is -- never driven, for that would deny the freedom of the New Covenant -- but -- perhaps the
right word is tempted -- to hear the Good News.
If the `natural law' is the law of sarx, the law that Man can find on his own, then a man other than St.
Thomas Aquinas understood it best. The 'natural' law is precisely the law of 'flesh,' the law of slavery, which
shows us with its iron hand that even our 'freedom' reduces to a necessity. As the modern day Thomist quoted
in Chapter 5 so aptly if unintentionally proved, in the `natural' world of `flesh' there are "obligations
antecedent to choice, rules that bind us whether we like it or not." And Man is not in any way -- for Christ
was not -- separate from the world of `flesh,' the world of bread and wine, but completely continuous with
that world, without remainder. Our Lord did not `pretend' to die. There was no `better,' remote, untouched
part of Our Lord that was spared death. To say otherwise would be gravest heresy.
Ecclesiastes said that he'd been a king, he'd been a wise man, he'd been rich, and that these all definitely
felt better than their alternatives, but that they are all still "vanity," because no man -- no creature -- escapes
the world of Cause and Chance, of fate and time and death, not even for an instant. Of the two, Ecclesiastes
and Aquinas, Ecclesiastes had the clearer understanding of the 'natural law,' the unrelenting law of the slavery
of all flesh apart from the Eucharist. But within that Eucharist, `flesh' is never denied, it is not destroyed, it is
not subsumed, it does not flee time, it does not become time-less. Without ever fleeing time, it receives its
dignity, its unity, its meaning, its freedom, in the Blood of the Lamb. As the professions of the Church say, it
Man lives in the fallen world, the world of "vanity," the world of Cause and Chance, of fate and time and
death, and can not escape, not even for an instant. In such a world the very words "Good News" twist into
meaninglessness even before they are formed. Thus, when Man is at his brightest and bravest, he discovers
that neither he, nor any other creature in the universe, can speak glad tidings to him. Man discovers that he is
utterly without power to speak the words of Good News to himself, not because he is weak, certainly not
because he is humble, but because the nature of the universe itself will not allow any such words. The words
twist in his throat even as he utters them.
And so, Fr. Keefe quite childishly concludes, since no time-less words exist at all, and since bodies
moving in time toward dissolution and death is all we've got, if words of Good News can be spoken at all,
they can only be spoken as a complete surprise, as a gift, as grace, within what bodies do, within a certain
'order' of bodies fully in time called Eucharistic, sacramental, covenantal, nuptial.
Thus the Liturgy is the font of all real words that can be spoken on the earth, and that 'place' toward which
all other words yearn, because only in the Liturgy do the words of 'flesh' no longer strangle Man in his own
throat when he tries to become sane, when he tries to remain conscious and yet in time, when he tries to stop
lying to himself that he can flee to the time-less.
When Man's words of 'flesh' can finally be what they really are, bread and wine within the Eucharistic
order of history, then and only then can Man become sane, and free.
The Eucharist itself -- not the 'idea' of the Eucharist, the Eucharist, fully in time, itself -- gives us the
words in time by which we understand it in time, as grace, as gift, as complete surprise completely
intelligible, not as time-less structure or framework, but as an 'order,' an Event, of bodies in time in which
nothing of bodies, and nothing in time or of time, is either rejected or subsumed, but is rather fulfilled, made
'time-full': Offertory, Consecration, Communion -- sarx, mia sarx, pneuma: 'flesh,' 'One Flesh,' life.
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.