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.
Patience is a hard discipline. It is not just waiting until something happens over which we have no control: the arrival of the bus, the end of the rain, the return of a friend, the resolution of a conflict. Patience is not a waiting passivity until someone else does something.
Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest, to be completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where we are. When we are impatient we try to get away from where we are. We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later and somewhere else. Let’s be patient and trust that the treasure we look for is hidden in the ground on which we stand.
I thought I’d share this TomPetty tune as the song for today. In life, we are always waiting for something. Whether it be for money, a job, our life to change…its a constant. However, waiting is always a constant. In the end everything always works out but it’s the waiting that’s the hardest part. If we take it on faith and take another yard, we are one step closer to receiving whatever it is we are waiting for.