BITTER CHERRY JAM

Priest Ioan Istrati

It was 10 years ago. I was a priest at the church Talpalari from Iași.

A very distinguished lady living very close to the church called me to her house. Her mother, of 80 years old, was in a comma, she hadn`t eaten or drunk anything for four days.

They had called the doctor who confirmed that all her organs were in collapse. `We`re waiting the end`, said the doctor. That lady had a plane ticket to go to her daughter in Canada so she was terribly concerned.

Either she left and the old woman died without her or she lost the plane tickets and could not leave anymore.

She told me:`Father, do something.`

I: My lady, we don`t pray for the people to die we pray for them to recover.`

`Yes, father, but I heard there are prayers for the release of the soul peacefully.`

We got in the wonderful villa from downtown Iasi. The old woman in a deep comma, with blank eyes and open mouth. I thought she had died. I noticed in the end a slight touch of breath from the moving of her chest.

I put my stole. I knew her faithful so I read the absolution prayer and communed her with the Body of Christ. Then I said the prayers for health, the release prayers, all of them.

Afterwards the lady told me: `Father, stay for a couple of minutes to eat some bitter cherry jam. It`s my favourite. We sat at 3 meters distance of the old woman and ate.

All of a sudden we heard: `You`re eating jam there and you don`t give to me? The old woman raised her head.

Her daughter googled her eyes and fainted falling down like a tree. I caught her. I sprinkled water from the glass over her. She recovered. But the old woman said: `Come with that jam because my mouth is watering after it.

We gave her jam making the sign of the cross.

`But don`t you have some meat cause I`m dying of hunger after four days of fast.`

The lady went and brought a plate with schnitzels. The old woman gulped happily.

`Father, when you gave me the Eucharist I felt like a fire in all my body like a spark moving through my veins and a great power.`

A tear fell down from my eye out of amazement. My hand was shaking on the tea spoon.

Every year the old woman calls me on my birthday inviting me to go and eat a bitter cherry jam

What a miracle of the universe is Christ the Eucharistic, what life, what light, what power, humbling Himself within us out of His endless love.