It is a great consolation to hear that, also in our time, God intervenes in an extraordinary way in the life of a person, just as it happened with Roy Schoemann. God is free to enter at any time into a person’s life, even of a non-believer, and to lead him to faith! This may inspire our prayers, because certainly behind Roy’s conversion were also the prayers of the faithful!
We heard in his testimony about that kind of “Jewish barrier” that Roy had towards the Christian faith. After his first enlightenment and conversion, he was willing to follow any religion, as long as it was not Christian. In a text that Roy shared with me, where he put in writing his path to faith, he said that even after his encounter with Our Lady, he continued to feel for a long time an interior rejection of Christianity, which he had to overcome. And the resistance was especially against Catholicism!
In his first experience with God, which I would like to call “enlightenment” and which then led him to conversion, we saw that the Lord, in his infinite wisdom, did not yet make his Name known to him. By that time, Roy would not yet have been ready to recognize the fullness of truth. So God proceeded step by step… Before he had had the experience with the Virgin Mary, he had asked for a whole year to have the Name of God revealed to him. Through that prayer, the grace of illumination he had received was able to settle deeper into his soul – no doubt through the work of the Holy Spirit – so that he was ready for the next step.
If the first experience with God had been more of a recognition of God, an acknowledgement of His love and truth, the encounter with the Virgin Mary touched his heart directly. As he himself states, he “fell in love” with her, and thus was prepared to find the way to the Lord Jesus and to his Church.
What a tender and considerate way of God with the atheistically minded son of his “first love”, Israel, who in his spiritual search also got to know the confusions of the New Age. He was thus irresistibly attracted by the love of God in the Virgin Mary and – as I know from another report by him – later on also by the Eucharist.
Regarding his first experience is for us to note that it became very conscious to Roy that everything we do on earth happens before God, and God has knowledge of it. In his letter, Saint Paul admonishes us to make the most of the present time (cf. Eph 5,16) by doing good, by fulfilling the will of God; and here even the smallest prayer counts! In this way, we can store up treasures in heaven (cf. Mt 6,20)…
At the end of this excursion through the conversion story of Roy, let us highlight a fundamental statement that he made in the context of the questions made to him… According to what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us, the Second Coming of Christ will not be fulfilled as long as the Jewish people do not convert to the Lord. For this reason, in terms of the history of salvation, prayer for the Jews is of inestimable importance.
It is certainly correct that, in relation to the evangelization of the Jews, one must be particularly attentive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and find the right path according to the Wisdom of God. We saw this precisely in the story that God went through with Roy… But it is absurd to stop being interested in the Jews knowing their Messiah, and not even praying in that intention!
In that sense, it is all the more strange that in recent times less and less thought has been given within the Church to the conversion of the Jews, and it is even believed that they could simply continue on the path of the Old Covenant, without their having to meet Jesus Christ. In some places it is almost frowned upon to want to convert the Jews! How far has it gone!
One could even ask if in this way the devil has managed to prevent Christians from hastening the Second Coming of Christ. Should the conversion of the Jews be left only to God? Can God no longer count on our cooperation? Do we understand things better today than St. Paul did in his time?
Roy and other Jews who were allowed to recognize their Messiah only shake their heads at this.
So, out of gratitude to God for Roy Schoeman’s conversion, I would like to connect with a prayer of the Fathers of the First Vatican Council and also invite all our faithful listeners to do the same.
From the First Vatican Council (1868):
The undersigned Fathers of the Council humbly yet urgently beseechingly pray that the Holy Ecumenical Council of the Vatican deign to come to the aid of the unfortunate nation of Israel with an entirely paternal invitation; that is, that it express the wish that, finally exhausted by a wait no less futile than long, the Israelites hasten to recognize the Messiah, our Savior Jesus Christ, truly promised to Abraham and announced by Moses; thus completing and crowning, not changing, the Mosaic religion.
The undersigned Fathers have the very firm confidence that the holy Council will have compassion on the Israelites, because they are always very dear to God on account of their fathers, and because it is from them that the Christ was born according to the flesh!
Would that they then speedily acclaim the Christ, saying: Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed be He who comes in the name of the Lord!
Would that they hurl themselves into the arms of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, even now their sister according to the flesh, who wishes likewise to be their mother according to grace as she is ours!