Rodolfo Acosta Benavidez - Dream or apparition...

To forgive wrongs darker than death or night .
To love and bear; to hope till Hope creates.
From its own wreck the thing it contemplates.
Good, great and joyous, beautiful and free. - Percy Bysshe Shelley

I wonder if forgiveness is only meaningful when we forgive that which is unforgivable?

I grew up with the belief that hatred consumes everything in its path.

That forgiveness saved us the expense of anger and the cost of hatred.

I was talking to my nephew about his Father and in our fellowship of tears, Fito admitted it was all just starting to hit him.

He said that he had never loved anyone as much as he had loved his father.

The loss he said had left him imprisoned in a world of hatred.

There were no words to console much less in any way deny what he was feeling.

We talked into the night.

I need to tell you more about the man that was murdered on the night of August 31st.

Rodolfo was a very special man, a devout Catholic, funny, charming and a man that generously gave to all the less fortuunate.

He gave away scholarships pretty freely so that these gifted students could one day change Mexico's future.

Many were from very humble families and so he often gave them additional stipends (from his own money) so that they could buy their books, travel back and forth from the outlying colonias of Juarez and even feed themselves.

I have no doubt of Rodolfo's final moments and I know that his courage didn't waiver.

He was a man of deep conviction, a man of Faith.

I fell asleep around 4:00 a.m. and then I thought I heard a distinctive voice and I sat up shocked to hear Rodolfo's voice.

Dream or apparition, after several sleepless nights one can only wonder.

At the end of the bedroom towards the corner I saw a large gossamer figure in the dark.

I could feel his presence, I can't lie, it startled me and I felt a bit overwhelmed.

I closed my eyes and rubbed them but quickly opened them again.

I could faintly hear him saying over and over, "Perdona los," Forgive them.

"Diles que los perdonen," Tell them to Forgive them.

My heart was racing and I closed my eyes and prayed.

When I opened my eyes again I was wide awake and quickly reached over for the light switch on my reading lamp.

And then it was at this point that I thought I saw Rodolfo getting up off the floor and seemed to dust off his trousers.

I jumped out of bed and stood helpless looking towards the floor.

"Rodolfo eres tu?", I asked.

Rodolfo wasn't there.

Dream or apparition?

I sat back on my bed and I remembered Fito's conversation earlier and then I wept.

I said to myself, "These killers have forever changed our family's life and those of his staff, the students and all of the people who loved him."

Not only have his children and wife lost the love of their lives.

We all are enduring the unendurable.

I wonder if one can forgive under these circumstances?

Forgiveness they say is a way to unburden oneself from the constant pressure of its written past.

Though it has only been twelve days, I have to believe that we should do as Rodolfo would have had us do.

"Perdonar." Forgive.

It’s the only way I think that his family and those that loved him can go on.

I am not fooling myself and think it will be easy, for the hatred I've been feeling has been asphixiating.  

It is a terrifying, painful and overwhelming journey that we have been redirected to.

But deep down I believe that we must release this hatred into the wind.

So that the hatred and these killers lie in the past where they both belong.

I know it will be very difficult and it will take time, because we are still reeling from the shock and his tragic ending.

We will grieve long for this unspeakable loss .

In a deeply personal way I am realizing that when unthinkable circumstances enter our life, there comes a point when you either stand by what you believe or you walk away from it.

Let go and let God... I once was told.

Maybe we will be stronger in our Faith because of this.

When this horrific tragedy happened we were each faced with the powerful reaffirmation of our own foundational religious posture.

The phone calls, the stress of waiting for his release, the sleepless nights, emotional grieving and devastation made it easier to find that solace.

The moments of respite tends to gift one with succinct moments of clarity.

So if we are to keep Rodolfo's legacy alive we must not let his sense of purpose and passion die.

We must pray for the strength to forgive and believe in God's infinite mercy.

I believe in God's plan for redemption for all regardless of our sins or sorrows.

In my anger I also know it holds true just as much for our family as for those five murderers.

Louis B. Smedes said it best, "Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future."

Rodolfo we need to listen to you.

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