On the Attempted Destruction of Beauty

I stand today before the eighth wonder of the Western world: Michelangelo’s Pieta at the Basilica of San Pietro in Rome. It is a marvel of the human spirit, how one man could have such vision and talent to bring forth such beauty from rock. Michelangelo used to say that he was only freeing each statue from its prison within the marble. It just had to come out.

As I stand before this magnificent work of art, I am reminded that in 1972 Laszlo Toth took a hammer to this masterpiece and tried to destroy it, knocking off the Virgin’s arm, chipping her eye and nose.

Mr. Toth was intent on destroying beauty.

I wonder, as I look at this breathtaking work, if too many injustices are perpetrated in the name of destroying beauty. Some partners denigrate the other…..just because. Some attack others…..just because. Some deface homes and walls and works of art……just because.

You are a person. Therefore, you are a work of art. You are a person of beauty. Some may wish to deface you—to hurt your heart—just because.

The master artists worked diligently to restore the Virgin’s features according to the artist’s original expectations (using detailed photos to accomplish the task).pieta

You, too, should consider using the artistic tools of forgiveness when others try to hurt you, to deface you, or even to destroy you.

Forgiving those who try to hurt your beauty is even better than the tools used to reconstruct the Pieta. You see, forgiveness as a tool does not just restore you to your previous state. Forgiving others has a way of making you even more beautiful than you were before.

Robert

7 thoughts on “On the Attempted Destruction of Beauty

  1. Beth September 2, 2013 / 3:50 am

    OK, I am crying now. This is one powerful blog. I have been deeply hurt by someone and it is so encouraging to hear that there is hope not only for restoration but for a greater beauty of my character. Hope, That is what forgiveness gives us as we start it. Hope.

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  2. Brigid September 2, 2013 / 6:20 am

    I know people who are afraid to forgive. They think they will drain all that is in them. This post is a challenge to us that perhaps, just perhaps, forgiveness gives back to us what we put into it. Thank you for educating a public that spends too little time thinking about forgiveness. A good society, one would think, would make it easy to be a good forgiver (with apologies to Peter Maurin regarding his quotation that a good society is one in which it is easy to be good).

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  3. Tesch September 2, 2013 / 8:19 am

    The one who wished to destroy did not succeed. It is the same when people try to destroy us. With forgiveness, they cannot succeed.

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  4. Josh September 2, 2013 / 12:40 pm

    It gives me confidence when I think about forgiveness in this context. Those who cannot stand another’s good fortune—-jealousy, in other words—cannot dampen the human spirit. We can thrive despite jealousy being pointed our way.

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  5. Abbie September 3, 2013 / 3:45 am

    And I would like to add that we need not fear those who try to so destroy. Yes, we have to keep our wits about us, but they cannot destroy us. I had never quite thought of cruelty in this way before.

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  6. Chris September 3, 2013 / 4:29 am

    There is a way to stop those who try to destroy beauty. How about a well timed punch to the face? We are not always supposed to turn the other cheek especially when they are bent on destruction.

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  7. Samantha September 5, 2013 / 10:23 am

    Chris, no one is disputing the call for justice when someone is destroying beauty. The point here is to focus on what happens after the beauty is either destroyed or there is an attempt to do so. It is here where forgiveness shines, as people rightfully do their best to stop the destruction. As you probably know, the Pieta is now protected by bullet-proof glass.

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