“My Soul Was Vicious” (Proverbs 1:10)
My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. —Proverbs 1:10
St. Augustine confesses, and we with him,
There was a pear-tree near our vineyard, loaded with fruit that was attractive neither to look at nor to taste. Late one night a band of ruffians, myself included, went off to shake down the fruit and carry it away, for we had continued our games out of doors until well after dark, as was our pernicious habit. We took away an enormous quantity of pears, not to eat them ourselves, but simply to throw them to the pigs. Perhaps we ate some of them, but our real pleasure consisted in doing something that was forbidden.
Look into my heart, O God, the same heart on which you took pity when it was in the depths of the abyss. Let me heart now tell you what prompted me to do wrong for no purpose., and why it was only my own love of mischief that made me do it. The evil in me was foul, but I loved it. I love my own perdition and my own faults, not the things for which I committed wrong., but the wrong itself. My soul was vicious and broke away from your safe keeping to seek its own destruction, looking for no profit in digrace but only for disgrace itself (Confessions, p. 47-48).