Friday, January 30, 2009

Augustine on His Own Wickedness

St. Augustine has an interesting reflection on his "wicked" acts in his youth:

I had no motive for my wickedness except for wickedness itself. It was foul, and I loved it. I loved the self-destruction, I loved my fall, not the objecto for which I had fallen but my fall itself. My depraved soul leaped down from your firmament to ruin. I was seeking not to gain anything by shameful means, but shame for its own sake. (Augustine, Confessions 2.4(9); trans. Henry Chadwick).

What was Augustine's great depravity in his soul? What great sin had he committed for the sake of wickedness and shame itself? A fall that he enjoyed not for the end, but for the fall itself? He stole a pear. Can you think of a more wicked and evil act?

(An extra note: sadly, the translator of these lines, Henry Chadwick, died last year. He will be sorely missed.)

1 comment:

Angie Van De Merwe said...


But, while we may make "light" of his conscience, wouldn't it be nice to have leaders that had such zeal of conscience over stealing? It seems that there is no end to the misuse of power today. We are a people who love to maintain our control, not to serve, but to manipulate the system, which anyone astute enough in the law can do "legally". This is why law never takes care of all of the problems of abuse of power, because it is really a lack of character...