The three steps of truth

These are the three steps of truth. We climb to the first by the toil of humility, to the second by the deep feelings of compassion, and to the third by the ecstasy of contemplation. On the first step we experience the severity of truth, on the second its tenderness, on the third its purity. Reason brings us to the first as we judge ourselves; compassion brings us to the second when we have mercy on others; on the third the purity of truth sweeps us up to the sight of things invisible.

~ from BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX ed. by M. Basil Pennington