Friday, February 26, 2010

Augustine's Pears: Lust's Lust

I am contemplated about telling the story of the great theologian's confession about when he stole some pears. Augustine account is insight, and thought simple, we can easily relate to it. Augustine recounts when he stole some pears with a group of friends and what motivated him to do it.

What fruit had I then (wretched man!) in those things, of the remembrance whereof I am now ashamed? Especially, in that theft which I loved for the theft's sake; and it too was nothing, and therefore the more miserable I, who loved it. Yet alone I had not done it: such was I then, I remember, alone I had never done it. I loved then in it also the company of the accomplices, with whom I did it? I did not then love nothing else but the theft, yea rather I did love nothing else; for that circumstance of the company was also nothing. What is, in truth? who can teach me, save He that enlighteneth my heart, and discovereth its dark corners? What is it which hath come into my mind to enquire, and discuss, and consider? For had I then loved the pears I stole, and wished to enjoy them, I might have done it alone, had the bare commission of the theft sufficed to attain my pleasure; nor needed I have inflamed the itching of my desires by the excitement of accomplices. But since my pleasure was not in those pears, it was in the offence itself, which the company of fellow-sinners occasioned.

What is interesting about this is that Augustine did not steal because he needed the pears for food, but because he wanted the excited that came with it. That is the nature of sin. It is sort of like a dog chasing his own tail. The excite is in chasing it, not actually catching it. Whenever a dog catches his tail, he is disappointed. Though he wanted that tail so badly, once he caught it, it was not what he expected it to be. Augustine felt the same way. He finally got the pears he wanted to badly, but once he got them, the thrill was gone.

Lust is very much the same way. To be consumed with lust is like Augustine and his pears or like a dog and his tail. We want pleasure, satisfaction, intimacy, or a "soul mate" so badly that when we see that person or that item or that image we think that our lives what be better. We think we will find contentment. But when we attain what we have lusted after for so long, all that happens is disappointment. All that is left to do is throw it out and chase after something else. Much like Augustine's pears.

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