These are the words of consecration at the mass:
“the bread we offer you: fruit of the earth and work of human hands, it will become for us the bread of life.
“the wine we offer you: fruit of the vine and work of human hands, it will become our spiritual drink.”
I suddenly realize it is significant that the bread and wine have two sources: nature plus human effort. This is their essential nature, and this is why they are the things we consecrate.
They are works of art, in the proper sense: they are co-productions of God and man.
This is the divine plan of salvation: God made the natural world to be perfected by man in art. God offers each of us grace and salvation, and it is up to us to respond and to work with it, as in the creation of art.
This is the contrast between the wine of the Eucharist, and the apple of Eden.
We are saved by art—not just the fine arts, but by every craft and skill. We are made, in Genesis, to be gardeners. We are made out of red clay by Yahweh, as a pot is made, and made in his image—to be potters. We are to imitate Christ--and Christ was a carpenter.
Through each work of art, we are building the New Jerusalem.