I watched Monday night's happenings in Ferguson with the wife. I watched up until the looting and mayhem began in earnest, ironically at or about the same time the President of the United States was finishing his disingenuous and ill-timed call for calm and peace.
As I watched, I felt a welling up within me of my own ugliness in reaction to the ugliness picking up steam on the TV. Overcome by the sense I should instead be praying, I asked my bride to turn off the news and reached intently for my Rosary beads.
There seems to be so much ugliness in the world right now.
So much pettiness and the division that results. So much stubbornness and small-mindedness that leads to a deepening spiral of dysfunction. So much ignorance and presumption that can only end in discord and disagreement. So much arrogance that sees vice while ignoring virtue in others. So much madness that ignores God's maxim to forgive. And, of course, so much of my own inclination to engage in this ugliness, to sink to these depths, to wallow in this muck.
It's all ugly. It's all wrong. It's all sin. It's dragging us down.
What I believe is needed to set things right, to replace all the ugly, if only for the moment, is beauty, tangible beauty. Bear with me for a moment.
When I gaze upon the sleeping face of my granddaughter Amelia, I experience tangible beauty. When I watch the magnificent colors created in the evening sky by the setting sun, I experience tangible beauty. When I look upon a majestic mountain or upon rolling hills covered in green, I experience tangible beauty. Of course, those beautiful things won't save the world in and by themselves nor do they rid us of the world's ugliness by any stretch of the imagination but they do, or at least should, makes us ponder Him who can redeem the ugly, He who came to redeem the most ugly, He who is the source of all beauty.
When I reached Monday night for my Rosary beads, I was reaching for a touch of God's redeeming beauty, the beauty through which the the world is indeed saved, this beauty that Pope Benedict XVI described as "totally pure, humble, free from arrogance and presumption." It is through Mother Mary that a Son was born, a Son who will crush the head of the serpent responsible for all this unsettling ugliness, a Son we should all be embracing if only as a response to His embrace of us.
And so Monday night, in the midst of all that is ugly, knowing there was little else I could do, I prayed once again to Him who is the Source of all Beauty, with the help of His Beautiful Mother, for an end to the Ugliness.
Lord, let it be so. And soon.