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“The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life.” But do we, as Catholics, really understand what the Eucharist is? Let me rephrase that: do we really understand who the Eucharist is? Actually, let me try one more time: Do we fully revere and adore him who meets us in the Eucharist? Maybe we could use some help with all of that.

My friend and colleague Tim O’Malley has written a book that will help all of us both to understand the Eucharist better and, especially, to grow in our love of the Eucharist through devotion, prayer, and longing. Tim’s new book is Real Presence: What Does It Mean and Why Does It Matter? The book is part of the new “Engaging Catholicism” series from our McGrath Institute for Church Life through Ave Maria Press, where we explore important but perhaps misunderstood doctrines and devotions of the Catholic faith.

In Real Presence, Tim teaches us about the related but distinct doctrines of transubstantiation and of the real presence, but he does more than merely teach us things to know. He shows us how what we come to understand must be joined to how we pray, and how we allow the Lord to transform and illumine our spiritual senses as we meet him in the Eucharist. This is an utterly practical book even as it is an utterly learned book. And today, Tim joins me to talk about the Eucharist, Eucharistic formation, and Eucharistic spirituality.