This is a pretty remarkable story of horror and forgiveness.
Rosario Rodriguez runs her own Catholic blog if you want to check her out.
June 2, 2011
blog, forgiveness, video
June 2, 2011 at 4:44 am
Thanks for sharing my sister's story!!! She is proof that God can bring good out of the worst situations.
June 2, 2011 at 6:01 pm
Isn't there a difference between forgiving someone for an offense versus entrusting yourself to God? The story is moving, but unless the person who offends you asks for your forgiveness, can you forgive him? This strong and faith-filled woman has "forgiven" people who have not asked for forgiveness. Is that really how it works? I think, rather, that the term "forgiveness" is being applied in this case to a laudable spiritual disposition of entrusting yourself to God and to his providence even though you suffer evil that, from our point of view, might not be explicable but from God's point of view has a role in the divine plan. When we "forgive" people who don't ask for forgiveness, who don't admit wrongdoing, who don't express regret for the injuries they have caused us, doesn't that cheapen genuine forgiveness? Doesn't that distort forgiveness? Yes, there are definitely psychological and spiritual benefits to not dwelling on evil that we have suffered (entrusting ourselves to God), but refusing to dwell on evil, refusing to let evil damage us and master us… I don't think that is the same thing as forgiveness. To put it in theological terms, I believe this woman is describing "hope" rather than forgiveness… hope: the theological virtue that trusts in the promises of God no matter what we experience or suffer.
June 2, 2011 at 6:49 pm
AND if you click on the link to the woman's blog, it doesn't take much time to scroll and skim through entries in which she is described as being on an emotional roller coaster, not having closure because the trial of her assailant is ongoing. So…. it seems that the video is EXTREMELY MISLEADING about the power of "forgiveness". The "forgiveness" alleged in the video has not, by the woman's own admission on her blog, given her peace. She is still coping with anxiety and emotions. Confirms my suspicion from having first viewed the video that what is being described in the video is not forgiveness properly understood. The video and the woman's blog provide conflicting stories about her interior sense. Furthermore, she seems to be doing quite a lot of self-promotion: a video, a blog, a facebook page. Come on, there's more going on here, and it has a fishy smell.
June 2, 2011 at 7:53 pm
Sawyer – I also have the same question as you about forgiveness: Can we forgive a person who does not want our forgiveness? I think of the way God forgives. We have to admit wrongdoing, amend our ways, and ask forgiveness in order to receive it. On the other hand, we have often done wrong we don't remember or simply don't have the good sense to repent of, but as long as we come to confession in good faith God will pardon these transgressions. The third case is when we consciously and obstinately persist in evil; God does not forgive that. So there are conditions under which God won't forgive us. Just my scattered thoughts. Would be interested if anyone can provide clarification on this matter.
June 2, 2011 at 11:06 pm
Luke 23:34 – And Jesus said, "Father,forgive them, for they know not what they do."
Well, it certainly looks like Jesus could forgive people — even when they didn't ask for it.
Matthew 6:14-15 – For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
It doesn't say anything about them having to ask.
June 2, 2011 at 11:08 pm
To admit to a wrongdoing is not easy, in fact it can be very humbling and even humiliating to do so. But every time we go to confession we are humbling ourselves before God, expressing sincere contrition for our wrongdoings and committing to being less of a sinner. Since this is what the Church teaches about getting forgiveness from God should we humans expect anything less from our neighbors who have wronged us? I think not. If you wrong me and don't say you're sorry (and mean it) and make satisfactory amends in some way, I will be unable to forgive you no matter how much I might want to. In which case I shall treat you as a tax collector of old and ostracize and shun you.
June 3, 2011 at 3:24 am
As to whether one at the same time say one has forgiven and is at peace and at the same time be on an emotional roller coaster, that's easy. Emotions are one thing, choices are another. The inner peace that comes from making the right choice is there even when emotions you can't control rip through you.
You can choose to forgive someone even when you feel torn up emotionally. The difference before and after one makes the choice to forgive is that before you were clinging to and feeding the emotions. After you forgive, you've chosen to not dwell on them, to let them go. That does bring peace, a "peace that passes understanding" peace even amidst the storm of emotions that are normal after undergoing a traumatic experience.
Also, as to whether one can forgive someone before they ask for it – yes in a way, you can. You forgive them in your heart, praying for them, for the grace to love them. It's like the way the prodigal's Father forgave him before he came home and asked for it – he had love for him in his heart rather than a desire to punish. So as soon as the son asked for forgiveness, the love was there waiting (waiting eagerly, even! watching every day). Some people, using imprecise terminology would say, the forgiveness was there waiting. But if you want to be very very precise (more precise than necessary for ordinary conversation and stories), yes it is probably correct to call it instead "a desire to forgive" or just "love for one's enemy" instead of calling it "forgiveness" before it's been asked for.
It's also how God forgives us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. (Remember, God is unchanging. It's not that He is one way before we repent and another way after. It's we who change.) God's forgiveness is His love that is there all along waiting and watching for us and as soon as we make the least move back towards him and ask to be in relationship with him again (instead of off in a little hissy fit refusing to participate in his love and insisting on sitting instead in the squalor of our sin), as soon as we approach the sacrament, asking to be one with Him again, His love pours out upon us anew (little though we deserve it).
June 3, 2011 at 7:35 pm
Rose makes me proud to be female. She has handled her spiritual and emotional recovery in a fashion that only one who is near to the Father's heart could wish for. I've prayed with her and for her and she is an amazing child of Jesus. Her whole family makes me glad to call myself Catholic.
June 5, 2011 at 7:20 pm
King James Version (KJV)
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
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