Over the past week I was assigned to read sections from The Confessions by St. Augustine. This is the second time I've read it, but this time I didn't have to read the whole thing in a week so I was able to read it slowly and in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The last time I read it the thing that stuck out to me the most was St. Monica and her perseverance in prayer for the conversion of her son. This time, as I continue to reflect on conversion in my own life what has really stuck out is St. Augustine's genuine disgust and horror for the sins of his past.
Sin is an interesting thing. Whenever I commit it I definetally find myself feeling horrible about it and running to confession. But on the same token I always find myself drawn back to it. The devil, the world, and the flesh have a very interesting way of making it look so stinking attractive. Yet the result is always the same, instead of giving me some sort of joy or pleasure it ends with feeling horrible about myself and standing in the confession line. It amazes me how much Augustine hated sin once he had his conversion. And this guy had seen and done it all. He had this amazing internal struggle and fought with God and himself in a way that I think most of us can relate to. The difference is once God got a hold of him there was no more sitting on the fence and when God won, Augustine gave him his entire life and never looked back. Granted it took him a while to get there but his conversion is one of the most fascinating conversion stories I've ever heard. I guess it is because I feel like I can relate to it so well.
How many of us have "conversions" and yet there is still a part of us that wants to cling to that old way of life? I know I struggle with it. I wish I could say I have eradicated all the sins that I struggled with from before my conversion. But that is not the case. I still fight the battle every day. Sin still looks attractive. Yeah I know its wrong and I dislike sin, but I don't HATE it the way Augustine did. The interesting thing is though I HATE it in others. When someone I truly care about is making poor decisions and struggling it tears my heart a part. It kills me and I pray my butt off for them, much like St. Monica did for Augustine. I sometimes think to myself man if it sucks this much when one of my teens from Wichita or here in Denver struggles how much is it going to suck when I have my own kids and they struggle with sin. Which makes me think, how much more does it upset God when I sin then. If I can be in that much pain over someone who isn't even my son or daughter because of the sins they struggle with, how much more is God hurt over what I do. It is easy to feel pain over the sins of others, but I need to look at myself the same way.
The thing with sin is its not easy to overcome. Thank God for His infinite mercy which I cling to everyday. I know I've had a conversion and truly strive to live for Christ but I have to remember that conversion is a daily process. I hope and pray that I can get to a point like Augustine that sin isn't something I merely dislike and try not to commit but something I LOATHE because it offends the one I call my best friend, Jesus.