- I do not love God. For if I loved god I should be continually thinking about Him with heartfelt joy. Every thought of God would give me gladness and delight. On the contrary, I much more often and much more eagerly think about earthly things, and thinking about God is labor and dryness. If I loved God, then talking with Him in prayer would be my nourishment and delight and would draw me to unbroken communion with Him. But, on the contrary, I not only find no delight in prayer, but even find it an effort. I struggle with reluctance, I am enfeebled by sloth, and am ready to occupy myself eagerly with my unimportant trifle, if only it shorten prayer and keeps me from it. My time slips away unnoticed in futile occupations, but when I am occupied with God, when I put myself into His presence every hour seems like a year. If one person loves another, he thinks of him throughout the day without ceasing, he pictures him to himself, he cares for him, and in all circumstances his beloved friend is never out if his thoughts. But I, throughout the day, scarcely set aside even a single hour in which to sink deep down into meditation upon God, to inflame my heart with love of Him, while I eagerly give up twenty-three hours as fervent offerings to the idols of my passions. I am forward in talk about frivolous matters and things which degrade the spirit; that gives me pleasure. But in the consideration of God I am dry, bored and lazy. Even if I am unwillingly drawn by others into spiritual conversation, I try to shift the subject quickly to one which pleases my desires. I am tirelessly curious about novelties, about civic affairs and political events; I eagerly seek the satisfaction of my love of knowledge in science and art, and in ways of getting things I want to possess. But the study of the Law of God, the knowledge of God and of faith, make little impression on me, and satisfy no hunger of my soul. To put it shortly, if love for God is recognized by the keeping of His commandments [i.e.: forgive; be merciful; long-suffer; turn the other cheek; do not look upon a woman…] and I not only do not keep them, but even make little attempt to do so, then in absolute truth the conclusion follows that I do not love God.
- I do not love my neighbor either. For not only am I unable to make up my mind to lay down my life for his sake, but I do not even sacrifice my happiness, well-being and peace for the good of my neighbor. If I did love him as myself, his misfortunes would distress me also, his happiness would bring delight to me too. But, on the contrary, I listen to curious, unhappy stories about my neighbor, and I am not distressed… what is worse, I find a sort of pleasure in them.
— “The Way of a Pilgrim”–