Revival Stories

One Drop Is Enough

The echo of the silence rang in my ears. It reverberated through my heart. I knelt, waiting, as if the mute stone walls of the chapel that had surrounded silent monks for hundreds of years, walls now surrounding me, would suddenly speak. They spoke not.

I had just spent almost an hour completing my penance. The good Franciscan friar—who knew me and cared about me—had asked if I would agree to its bittersweetness. I did. So, kneeling on the worn rock floor in a 14th-century chapel in Gaming, Austria, in front of the Blessed Sacrament exposed in the monstrance, I abandoned everything I could think of—carefully imagining it, naming it, and then handing it to Jesus.

It was an exercise in surrender. It was a true penance.

Eucharist in an adoration chapel

Surrendering and Listening

The curious Catholic will certainly wonder what I confessed to warrant such a penance.

In short: pride, control, selfishness. All of these, with their customary trappings of fear and anxiety. Fear and anxiety are often symptoms of deeper pride issues, and they were for me. They place an icy death grip on life because one is afraid to lose plans, stuff, or reputation.

Thus, my penance: In the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, to spend as long as necessary handing everything over in prayer to the Author of the Universe. Everything. Everything from my shirt and shoes to my vehicle and vocation. I was to relinquish my plans, my stuff, and my reputation.

But that was not all. There was another step to the penance: I was to listen. Once I had reached a point of surrendering everything I could think of to Jesus in the Eucharist, the son of St. Francis told me to listen.

“See if he has anything to say to you,” he said.

So, I did. Emptied, I waited.

I listened.

The silence was deafening, a seemingly oppressive weight as my head hung low—eyes fixed on the stones below my bent knees.

Close up of a San Damiano crucifix

The One Thing That Satisfies

Looking up, I once again caught sight of the humble King in his golden throne. Then, peering through the golden rays of the monstrance, I noticed the large San Damiano crucifix—a replica of the crucifix from which Jesus spoke to St. Francis of Assisi—behind the altar. My focus came to rest on the blood dripping off the feet of Jesus. There, abandoned before the Body of Our Lord, and beholding an artistic representation of his blood poured out, it was as if Jesus said in a voice that cut through the silence, “One drop of my Blood is enough.”

There, in the lingering silence, before his Presence, the Lord encountered and filled me. He broke through the hardness of my frenetic and fearful heart.

Almost intuitively, I knew exactly what all of this meant. Jesus seemed to be saying: All the things of the world, all the things you’re so concerned about, those things to which you cling, they do not satisfy. My Eucharist satisfies. Me. I, alone, satisfy. All the things you try to control, that you think will give you life—they do not. I, alone, satisfy.

“For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.” (Jn. 6:55–57)

In a humble chapel in Austria, the Eucharist pointed to an artistic depiction of his own sacrifice, and I sensed words that brought me a peace the world (or my own efforts) cannot give (cf. Jn. 14:27)—“One drop of my Blood is enough.”

Person kneeling in prayer

Since this Eucharistic event in my life in the Fall of 2006, I have carried out the surrender exercise before the Blessed Sacrament many times. In the Eucharist, Jesus is always inviting you and me again and again, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened” (Mt. 11:28). It is an open invitation to surrender everything, and not for the sake of some cathartic experience. God is not about emptiness. Rather, he is about fullness (cf. Mt. 12:43–45). In the Eucharist, God always speaks his Word into our abandoned hearts, if we are willing to be open to this Presence and if we are quiet enough to listen.