Augustine's greatest conversion is about to happen. This was the conversion of his heart, when God penetrates the very self.
For Augustine it happened in an unusual way.
Another North African, Pontitianus, visited Augustine and told him things which he had not previously heard about life in Christian community and the wonderful conquests over self which had been won under through it.
He saw that those without education were entering the kingdom of heaven, while he with all his learning was still held captive by the flesh. This offended his pride.
When Pontitianus had gone, Augustine spoke a few vehement words to Alypius, his friend and companion. He then went hastily with Alypius into the garden to consider this new problem.
Overcome by his conflicting emotions, Augustine moved away from Alypius. He threw himself down under a fig tree, and tears came to his eyes.
Then Augustine was jolted, like Saint Paul on the road to Damascus, into another reality. There followed the scene that has so often been described.
(Continued on the next page.)