Saint Catherine of Siena pictured the spiritual life as a large tree:
The trunk of the tree is love.
The core of the tree is patience.
The roots of the tree are self-knowledge.
The many branches are discernment.
In other words, said Catherine, love does not happen without patience, self-knowledge, and discernment. Today we have little encouragement toward honest self-knowledge or training in spiritual discernment from our churches. We prefer the seeming clarity of black-and-white laws. By nature, most of us are not very patient. All of which means that love is not going to be very common. We need Saint Catherine’s tree again.
—from the book Yes, And...: Daily Meditations by Richard Rohr