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Gunther Sonnenfeld, May 31 2022

Illumination Through Christ

Insights on the conversion to Orthodox Christianity and the role of the holocaust in Salvation.

My father was one of very few people to have survived fascism and communism within a decade.

On the night of his 6th birthday, November 9th, 1938, the Nazi SS stormed his family's home along with many other homes and Jewish-owned businesses in what is historically described as Kristallnacht, or the Night of the Broken Glass.

Now displaced and facing long-term detention in holding camps, or worse, death in concentration camps, my father and his immediate family wrangled a twin-engine flight to a small city bordering Russia, then took the Trans-Siberian railway to Shanghai, China. There they lived in tenements with other Jews, Catholics, Muslims, Buddhists and other people from a wide array of faiths and spiritual disciplines. They fended off the fierce Japanese occupation along with Nazi youth until Mao came into power, and by 1948, my father was able to flee to San Francisco.

Once stateside, he attended a Jesuit high school, became a swim, track and soccer star, and then entered the U.S. Army as a serviceman during the Korean War. From there, he studied biochemistry, developing two patents that paid his way through university and medical school. After interning at the Veteran's Administration, he became a world-renowned physician specializing in infectious diseases and internal medicine, saving thousands lives over a career that spanned more than five decades.

Having a lived a hard, stressful life, my father underwent a heart transplant right after 9.11.2001. I remember him intubated, literally hanging onto whatever he barely had left in his bodily reserve, praying with a Baptist minister. He survived the ordeal a changed man. Something powerful in Christ spoke to him. The voice told him to hang on, and to finish his work in the world.

He gained another 20 years, and as I came back to the faith starting in 2020 (there are no coincidences), I knew that I should not only reconcile our differences, but ask for forgiveness from God on both of our behalf.

The day that I entered a confessional after 38 years, on December 13th, 2021 at 4 PM EST, I prayed for my father. I asked the priest: "Can my father enter the kingdom of heaven? He's a good man, and has done good things for many people."

The priest smiled and said: "Of course he can. People do the work of Christ all the time without even realizing it. And for that alone, those people are invited into His kingdom."

The priest then gave me and my father a blessing and absolved us of our sins.

An hour later my father passed away.

I share this story with you now not only as a reminder of what we face in the world at present, but to invite you to explore the absolute power of faith in the Divine.

This story aligns well with that of Roy Schoeman, a former professor at Harvard Business School and an atheist, who, before encountering the Divine in Christ and the Virgin Mary, found life to be purposeless, hopeless and to a large extent, loveless. All reversed course and blessings came to him as he developed a true relationship with God.

What's remarkable about Roy's story is how he describes orthodox faith as "one long, extending story which connects the Old and New Testament in profound ways".  He describes Catholicism specifically as "post-Messianic judaism", and Judaism itself as "pre-Messianic Catholicism".

This makes perfect sense. In fact, I have family in Israel who were born into the world as Jews, and reborn as Messianics. In converting fully to Christianity, they have "completed the story" of God the Father Creator's designs for humanity, and Christ's sacrifices for the Salvation of humanity.

The tie-in of Salvation and the European Holocaust is also remarkable, as Roy tells it. Like my father, Roy's parents were German Jews who fled from the Nazi holocaust and settled here in the U.S.

He speaks of a people "chosen for grace in humankind" through the same kind of suffering Christ endured.

Roy also talks about the Ashkenazi bloodline families that led to distinct eugenics practices, part of a hierarchy of world power that I contextualized in my last post.

All of what happened to European Jews during this period - to include many other holocausts and hundreds of millions more slaughtered who were of other faiths and cultural orientations - was a plan that dates back millennia to the time of the Isrealites and the Canaanites - essentially, a spiritual war between the chosen ones and the fallen ones that manifested in an entire history of human atrocities.

It is a fascinating tale we will explore another time, all of which to say that the extermination of the innocents and the unforgiven was a direct reflection of Satanic, diabolical will.

The good message to us all coming out of this metanarrative is that the intimacy of God is an obvious antidote to the blatant materialistic evils of the world, and as such, we are always welcome to find Salvation in Christ.

Let us conclude this post with a commentary on Romans 11 and the Restoration of Israel, which addresses the fact that God did not cast away his chosen people, He gave them the gift of Salvation through their own suffering.

Acceptance of life from the dead or the non-living is what we achieve in grace through a direct relationship with the Divine.

Written by

Gunther Sonnenfeld

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