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Saint augustines confessions about sinning in the confessions

Augustine’s Confessions: Sin for the Sake of Sin

Sin for the Sake of Sin Posted on by DarwinCatholic In Book 2, we find Augustine the character as a teenager, while Augustine the author takes the opportunity to think about what makes us sin.

The connection will be familiar to us all. Augustine talked about Original Sin in Book 1, that tendency which we can see even in very young children towards selfishness in which we can see the rooted tendency towards self over others which is at the root of sin.

Augustine’s Confessions: Sin for the Sake of Sin

But that selfishness of childhood is largely unthinking. Foolhardy as I was, I ran wild with lust that was manifold and rank. In your eyes my beauty vanished and I was foul to the core, yet I was pleased with my own condition and anxious to be pleasing in the eyes of men. In Late Antiquity, rhetoric was something that could take you far. This is also the year that adolescence hits Augustine full force.

As an adult, looking back on the history of his soul, as it were, what strikes Augustine is not so much that this was the pause before he took a shot at an ivy league education and high powered career but rather that this is there year when lust took control of his life.

Augustine on why babies are evil

And looking back, it seems to the adult Augustine that others were surprisingly unconcerned about this: No one had anything but praise for my father who, despite his slender resources, was ready to provide his son with all that was needed to enable him to travel so far for the purpose of study. Yet this same father of mine took no trouble at all to see how I was growing in your sight or whether I was chaste or not….

One day in the public baths saint augustines confessions about sinning in the confessions saw the signs of active virility coming to life in me and this was enough to make him relish the thought of having grandchildren. He was happy to tell my mother about it, for his happiness was due to the intoxication which causes the world to forget you, its Creator, and to love the things you have created instead of loving you, because the world is drunk with the invisible wine of its own perverted, earthbound will.

So, in her piety, she became alarmed and apprehensive, and although I had not yet been baptized, she began to dread that I might follow in the crooked path of those who do not keep their eyes on you but turn their backs instead….

She too is concerned that he focus on his studies and his career. This was because she was afraid that the bonds of marriage might be a hindrance to my hopes for the future — not of course the hope of the life to come, which she reposed in you, but my hopes of success at my studies.

Augustine’s Confessions: Sin for the Sake of Sin

Both my parents were unduly eager for me to learn, my father because he gave next to not thoughts to you and only shallow thought to me, and my mother because she thought that the usual course of study would certainly not hinder me, but would even help me, in my approach to you. And thought Augustine is justifiably regretful of some of his actions in the intervening years, his studies did, in the end, form him into the Father of the Church we know today.

Encouraging a promising young man to get married at 16 would have been about as unusual in the 4th century as it would be today. Questioning, as he does, the value of worldly success in general from his current vantage point, Augustine as the author gives these concerns less weight, but the actions of Patricius and Monica will sound familiar and sympathetic to any modern parent.

  • His vocabulary has become part of the Church's language and many of his statements are now proverbs of Christianity;
  • Their sinful natures develop for the worse until adolescence generates even more sin.

One of the moral questions Augustine is trying to examine in this portion of the story of his life is what makes us want to sin. According to the Platonic tradition, one only ever desires something because it is good.

Augustine’s Confessions: Sin for the Sake of Sin

Thus, if one wishes something bad, it is either because one imagines it to be good, or because it has some good in itself which we are wrong in loving only to the extent that we do so immoderately. Yet often, we sin not out of desire for some concrete good thing, but rather out of the simple joy of transgression. To illustrate this, Augustine tells of an escapade during this year he spent at home: There was a pear tree close to our own vineyard, heavily laden with fruit, which was not tempting either for its color or for its flavor.

Late one night—having prolonged our games in the streets until then, as our bad habit was—a group of young scoundrels, and I among them, went to shake and rob this tree. We carried off a huge load of pears, not to eat ourselves, but to dump out to the hogs, after barely tasting some of them ourselves.

Doing this pleased us all the more because it was forbidden. Thus, this is not, Augustine concludes, like those sins committed for some simple good, as when one steals something because one wants to have that thing. The joy he and the other boys experienced was the joy of breaking rules for the sake of breaking rules.

This desire to be a law unto oneself and break rules for the sake of disobedience is an inversion of our desire for God.

Augustine’s Confessions: Sin for the Sake of Sin

When we love God, we desire to follow His laws. However, when we want to break laws simply for the sake of breaking them, what we really want is to experience ourselves as the make of all laws — as God.