1. I do not love God. For if I did love Him, then I would ceaselessly think of Him with genuine pleasure, and each thought of God would bring me joyous delight. On the contrary, I far more frequently and far more willingly think about earthly matters, while thoughts of God are difficult for me and give rise to inner aridity. If I love Him, then conversing with Him through prayer would nourish me; it would delight me and would draw me into unceasing communion with Him. Yet it’s quite the reverse – not only do I take no delight in prayer, but I find it difficult to pray. I struggle with reluctance, I am weakened by laziness, and I am ready to be distracted by any insignificant matter, just to shorten my prayers or even to stop praying altogether. When I am occupied with empty activities, time flies unnoticeably; but when I turn my thoughts to God, when I place myself in His presence, each hour seems like a year.
If someone loves another, his thoughts are always with the other, throughout the day – he pictures the other in his mind and is concerned for the other. No matter what he is occupied with, the beloved friend is ever in his thoughts. While I barely set aside even an hour during the day to immerse myself in deep meditation about God and to surrender myself to His burning love. Yet I eagerly spend twenty-three hours offering zealous sacrifices to my impassioned idols!… Discussions of vain, worldly matters, ignoble subjects for the soul, stimulate and give me pleasure, while thoughts of God leave me arid, bored, and lazy. Even if others unwittingly draw me into discussion about divine matter, I quickly strive to change the subject to matters that flatter my passions. I am tirelessly curious for news, about civil appointments, about political events. I greedily strive to gratify my inquisitive nature about the secular sciences, the arts, acquisition of material things, while religious instruction, learning about God, make no impression on me, they do not nourish my soul. And I consider this not only a nonessential activity for a Christian, but almost a foreign subject, one of secondary consequence, which I must study only at my leisure, in my spare time. In short, if one’s love of God is proved by fulfilling His commandments – “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word” (Jn. 14:23), says the Lord Jesus Christ – and not only do I not observe His commandments, I hardly exert myself at all – then in all truth, the only possible conclusion is that I do not love God…. Saint Basil the Great also confirms this when he says, “The proof that man does not love God and His Christ lies in not keeping His commandments.”
“Way of a Pilgrim: Confession That Leads to Humility”