Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don’t dare express themselves as we did.
Sophie Scholl, German Anti-Nazi Activist, executed by the guillotine for treason against the Nazi regime
As I watched the interview I was so desperately afraid to see, I couldn’t help but recall the words of Sophie Scholl I had read just days earlier in a book recommended by my dear blogging friend Julie over at cookiecrumblestoliveby. The book, A Noble Treason, has been a tough read, especially after reading the book Julie first recommended, At the Heart of the White Rose, Letters and Diaries of Hans and Sophie Scholl.
You may be wondering what letters and diary entries of a gentile German girl who resisted Hitler and his reign of terror have to do with an interview I taped for EWTN on my conversion. At first I couldn’t put the two together either. But as I put A Noble Treason down for several days and watched myself recount the story of my conversion last night, I remembered how hard it was to be a Jewish person who loved Christ. I remembered what it was like, especially in the beginning and even before then. When so many people and things I loved went away, when Christ was all I had, and when the most hurtful of comments came, Don’t you remember the Holocaust? Certainly you have forgotten your people.
It was especially hurtful for me to think for one second that Jewish people really believed I had abandoned my culture and heritage and had somehow in loving and embracing Jesus become an anti-Semite. Although I didn’t discuss it on the show, Anne Frank was an integral part of my spiritual development and I still have not been able to go into the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC for complete fear of collapsing from sheer and utter grief.
Out of all of the things that hurt the most during the process of my conversion, this by far had to be the worst. I have read and studied more Holocaust books than I can count and have grappled with why the Holocaust happened for many years.
I was reminded of the controversy surrounding Edith Stein’s canonization- while Catholics hailed her a martyr and the Pope made her a saint, Jews called her a coward. Often times when I read and re-read the many books I have acquired on her life, I am reminded of the theme of controversy that surrounded her conversion. Between her family and her people, I imagined the pain in her heart in her final walk into the gas chamber at Auschwitz knowing that many would never understand. This is what she wrote in her last testament (1939):
I ask the Lord to accept my life and death for His honor and glorification, for all concerns of the most Holy Heart of Jesus and Mary and the Holy church, especially for the sanctification and completion of our Holy Order, particularly the Carmels of Cologne and Echt, for the atonement for the unbelief of the Jewish people and in order that the Lord may be accepted by his own [people] and that His Kingdom come in magnificence, for the deliverance of Germany and world peace, the destruction of the Antichrist, and finally for my relatives both living and dead and all whom God has given me: that none of them may be lost.”
And herein lies the offense, that she sacrificed her life as an offering for the unbelief of the Jewish people. This caused quite the stir. It is difficult to discuss the unbelief of the Jewish people without a Jewish person taking offense, and rightfully so. Christ was the Jewish messiah called to fulfill the law and the prophets, His own people rejected him while He was here on this earth, and continue to reject Him. And in that same rejection of Christ, they reject Edith, and… me.
And I think of Sophie Scholl’s words… somebody had to do it, who was going to do it? And I know exactly what they mean. There are so many other Jewish women who I know read my words and are moved to know this “Christ” but cannot move because they wouldn’t dare to be ostracized from the very community to which they belong. I get it because I have lived it. That is the cost of following Christ, the cost we must count before we begin our journey with Him.
I pray that somehow, some way my words and my story would move the heart of my people, the people of Jesus, the people of God. I pray that God used me in some way to open wide a door, to breakdown a wall or simply to clear up a misconception. I cannot count myself a martyr as Sophie Scholl or Edith Stein were, but I do see that God chose me, He chose US to make a start.