In his Confessions, Augustine detailed his own pilgrimage, and the long-term pursuit of God. Every step he took moved him either closer to God or further away. There were peaceful times and tremendous challenges along the path. It was often the twists and turns in life that God used to draw him to Himself. Even when he went in the wrong direction the Lord pursued him. Only God’s grace redeemed and set him in the right direction. He could not reach God or fulfill his commands by human effort alone. Rather, God always graced his heart. The adventures of Augustine began long before his conversion. After running from God for many years, he finally yielded his life to the Almighty. However, after conversion the journey did not end. The remainder of Augustine’s life was spent in pursuit of the One he loved. He said, “…Our hearts find no peace until they rest in you (p. 21).
During his journey seeking for the truth, Augustine experienced a great deal of pain and suffering in his life. The sins he described and confessed can all be viewed as distractions from God. “My sin was this that I looked for pleasure, beauty, and truth not in Him but in myself and his other creatures (p. 40). Augustine considers himself as a wicked child because he was unable to control his desires or emotions. He also became frivolous and a liar. He was inordinately desirous of winning boyish games, and became known for cheating. He bemoaned that this was not boyish innocence, and that the cheating and ugliness of boyhood is only succeeded by the larger but similar ugliness of adulthood (p. 39-40). With the onset of adolescence, Augustine entered what he considered the most lurid and sinful period of his life. He ran wild with lust and with desires for a surfeit of hell’s pleasure (p. 43). The theft of the pears particularly disturbed him; this teenage prank was done with no other motive than a desire to do wrong. He recognized that he loved his fall into sin (p.47). The pears were not stolen for their beauty, their taste, or their nourishment, but out of sheer mischief. Augustine also compared himself to the prodigal son. He saw his conversion as a kind of a journey of the heart. To turn his back on God and go off to a far place, he didn’t need chariots, ships or even feet, he just needed to do it in his heart. He said, “The path that leads us away from you and brings us back again is not measured by footsteps or milestones” (p. 38). God would never count his sins, but embrace him, forgive, and rejoice for “he was lost and has been found” (Lk: 15, 32). From this Augustine’s view gives us the notion of sin. Sin is do against God’s will, oneself, or the natural order. Each one of us who reflects on Augustine’s sins has a good opportunity to investigate their behaviors in daily life and therefore to see clearly what is wrong, and what is right. If we do something wrong, we should not ignore it, but humble ourselves in recognition and acceptance that these are our weaknesses, so that with God’s love, mercy and forgiveness, we will be able to reconcile with Him, ourselves, and our fellow men. This is the way that Christianity, particularly the Catholic Church encourages its children to practice in their daily lives, in the penitential rite of Mass, and in the Sacrament of reconciliation in order to receive forgiveness and God’s mercy. Perceiving sin and its path is very important, as it allows us to understand the right path. Augustine recognized his early years were a continual failure to grasp the true meaning of life. Reading Cicero’s work the Hortensius at the age of nineteen must be marked as the first crucial turning point toward his conversion. The book changed his feelings. He said that it altered his prayers towards God. It gave him different values and priorities. Suddenly every vain hope became empty to him, and he longed for the immortality of wisdom with an incredible ardor in his heart. He