“[O]ur minds are so chained to the things of sense, that we imagine our Lord as instituting the Blessed Sacrament with bread and wine as the remote matter of it because bread and wine reminded him of that grace which he intended the Blessed Sacrament to bestow. But, if you come to think of it, it was just the other way about. When he created the worlds, he gave common bread and wine for our use in order that we might understand what the Blessed Sacrament was when it came to be instituted. He did not design the Sacred Host to be something like bread. He designed bread to be something like the Sacred Host.”
— Ronald Knox, The Window in the Wall (London, 1956), p. 80
“The eucharist is the centre of all other presences of God toward us. In the eucharist, we touch the basis of all reality, the Holy Trinity; here are concentrated the uncreated, personalized, loving energies of God as loving community. God’s fullness of love moves toward us in order to transform us into his loving children.”
This is the proper order.
[ADDED A DAY LATER: God is Catholic–or ecclesially incarnate–in the same way that God is Creator. God did not necessarily create the world, but since He has, to deny His creator-status is to deny Him. Likewise, nothing in God’s nature compelled Him to establish the Catholic Church–so He’s not intrinsically Catholic, so to speak–but since He has wedded Himself to the Church, to deny His uniquely ecclesial presence is to deny Him. While God exists ‘in Himself’ as pure spirit, three Persons in one divine nature, He exists as Creator only by means of, and in the mode of, Christ in the Eucharist. God did not need the creation, therefore, to be God (qua divinity); but He does need the Eucharist to be the God of creation.]
It dawned on me, once more, today, after some exchanges in various comboxes, how radical Fr. Keefe’s vision of sacramental reality is. It challenges every worldly category at the root, and is thus polyvalently contrarian. It gives us the closest thing to a naturalistic defense of Catholicism, and is thus radically indigestible. In essence, Fr. Keefe says that the Incarnation makes Creation possible, rather than the other way around. This radically sacramental ontology wholly uproots rationalistic, pagan attempts to understand, much less embrace, “the world” apart from Christ. The Incarnation did not, in other words, take place in some abstract, absolute time, but, rather, spacetime ‘takes place’ inside the the transcendental possibilities afforded by there being a Eucharistic feast in the first place. [The Eucharist, as the One Flesh of Christ with His Bride, the Church, is the “prime analogate of being,” and therefore any valid metaphysics must begin with the ontological contours afforded by the Eucharistic parousia [PDF]. If you’re still interested (or awake),] here’s a brief-ish but worthy guide to the whole issue.
The upshot, dear reader, is that if you don’t understand Fr. Keefe’s eucharistic ontology, you won’t possibly understand my views on the existence of “the Catholic God,” which, God willing, I am determined to publish when the time comes. Keefe’s book changed my life. Having said that, there is no denying that Keefe’s work is rough sledding even for the most intrepid. But, when all is said and done, it is well worth the effort.
Lastly, since at least person keeps. demanding. an. answer. RIGHTNOW!, my comments on the pope’s error on conscience is due to be released in the next few weeks. Likewise, part 3 of “The Battle Within” about Pope Francis is a little closer to being done. My other blogging goals will show up in time.