God is Eucharistic. That is a bold and profound claim. It is different from only saying that God gives the Eucharist or that Christ is made present in the Eucharist. To say that our God is a Eucharistic God has profound consequences for, well, everything… including how we revere and adore the Eucharist now, and how we come to know God through the Eucharist.
My guest today wrote an essay under the title “The Key to Understanding God” in which he brings forward the Eucharistic thought of the Russian Orthodox theologian Sergius Bulgakov and the Roman Catholic theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar. In both, we find the concerted effort to apprehend the entire Christian life, including the intellectual life, from and toward the Eucharist. The Eucharist, in other words, is the key to understanding all things, including and especially who God is and how God is. These are deep matters with surprising relevance, which together we are going to seek to understand and consider better.
Our guide and my guest is Jonathan Ciraulo, assistant professor of theology at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology. His essay, “The Key to Understanding God,” appeared in the Church Life Journal in April 2022, and his new book with the University of Notre Dame Press is The Eucharistic Form of God: Hans Urs von Balthasar’s Sacramental Theology.