98 Chapter 7
REGARDING OUR STORY SO FAR
The reality that the Eucharist is both the sign of and creates is that completely surprising and yet
completely intelligible 'time-full' reality about which it is always possible to ask questions of ever higher
quality, by so doing making ever higher-quality mistakes.
By definition, then, Covenantal Theology is not "Catholic theology," a Catholic Theory of Everything, the
sort of insane flight to the time-less that is refused and rendered powerless by the union of Christ with his
Bride, the Church, the New Covenant, itself. Covenantal Theology, as with every other work of Catholic
theological science, is just one more attempt to make higher-quality mistakes in the questions it asks
regarding that New Covenant.
Furthermore, the present general state of Catholic theological science is so degraded that even the
proposal to take seriously the idea that the liturgy, the sacraments themselves, gives us the words by which we
stand to understand, must occupy two volumes and 784 pages of small print.
Fr. Keefe's achievement would have been remarkable if he had merely been able to ask the questions only
a child could ask. For by being able to do this, he does us all great service.
He 're-turns' Catholic theological science to its mission as a science asking questions of a reality in time,
the New Covenant.
He also turns Catholic theological science away from what it now takes its mission to be, the 'logical'
working-out of some time-less explanation for the cosmos, whether the time-lessness of 'natural' law or of
'liberation' or of 'technique,' which can only logically conclude to scientific incoherence, psychological
despair, and a flight from the 'time-full' reality given in and through the worship of the Church.
Finally, Fr. Keefe 're-turns' us all to the Eucharist as the sole "medicine of immortality," to the sacraments
as -- not the only -- but the sole complete reality of Christ's presence in 'flesh,' in our 'now,' in our time.
The Church's free ('time-full,' historical, graced, surprising, unconditioned, anti-necessary) liturgical
mediation of her faith is the sole 'place' in 'flesh' wherein Man can fully and reliably appropriate his sanity.
Man can find an unvarnished and complete refusal of the time-less solely within the Eucharistic 'order' of
bodies in time.
For the Eucharist is the one historical Event within which Man can, for one more day, decisively "in
Christ" refuse the time-less himself, remaining a body in time, but, for one more day, nevertheless remaining
sane, remaining, without fleeing, in that time, that 'flesh,' into which the Savior "emptied himself." In the
sacramental re-presentation of the New Covenant, Man may, for one more day, fully reject irresponsibility,
insanity, and nothingness for the Eucharistic order of history: 'flesh,' 'One flesh,' life.
By Man's own appropriation of the Church's sacrifice of praise joined covenantally to the One Sacrifice of
Christ Her Head, Man, a body in time, appropriates reality as bodies in time in a free -- that is, an
inexhaustibly meaningful but neither necessary nor subsuming -- Eucharistic, covenantal, nuptial, marital,
sacramental, 'time-full' 'order.'
These alone are sizable contributions to a "faith seeking understanding." But what should one say
regarding a work that not only asks the questions only a child could ask, but begins the task of answering
them? For after having cleared the path, Fr. Keefe then asks the question which his childish questioning has
made intelligible: What words does the Eucharist speak to us, when we refuse the time-less, and, by our 'time-
full' participation in the worship of the Church, we stand to understand?
The next chapters try to illustrate a few of Fr. Keefe's tentative answers to that question. In the course of
doing so, they may make more clear the meaning of words such as "covenantal," "free," "historical," and
"order," which are crucial to an understanding of Fr. Keefe's work.
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.