It was an adolescent prank—pears stolen from a neighbor's tree. But as Augustine looked back on the incident many years later, it seemed reprehensible to him. He had no need of the pears; they were thrown to the pigs. It was the thrill of committing theft with his friends that he had sought. "My feasting was only on the wickedness which I took pleasure in enjoying" (Confessions, Book II, 12).
St. Augustine wrote the story of his conversion more than sixteen hundred years ago, but this distance in time does not dilute the immediacy...
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