I loved spending time with my two smallest nephews over Thanksgiving. Their youthful energy and wonder fill me with joy. But when I unwrapped one chocolate too many for the older boy, I was told very seriously: “I think we better wait till after supper!”

When do we lose a child’s quick sense that an extra piece of candy may not be the best thing for us? In St. Augustine’s Confessions, I notice how the saint pays close attention to small sins. What led him to climb a pear tree to steal its fruit? He devotes nine pages to this one misdeed, but by paying careful attention to his own motives, this great Catholic thinker arrives at a deeper truth; in his case, that recklessness in small acts can open the way to larger sins later on.

Jesus cared a great deal how people understood the world and themselves. This Advent season, what might God reveal to us if we pray to Him with a greater spirit of childlike honesty?

—Joe Kraemer, SJ, is a scholastic of the West Province currently in Regency in the Advancement Office at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, California.








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