As Moses declares in Deuteronomy, "Our Lord is a consuming fire," that is, a fire of love, which being of infinite power, can inestimably consume and transform into itself the soul it touches. Yet He burns each soul according to its preparation: He will burn one more, another less, and this He does in so far as He desires, and how and when He desires. When He wills to touch somewhat vehemently, the soul's burning reaches such a high degree of love that it seems to surpass that of all the fires of the world: for He is an infinite fire of love.
Because the soul in this case is entirely transformed by the divine flame, it not only feels a cautery, but has become a cautery of blazing fire.
It will happen that while the soul is inflamed with the love of God, it will feel that a seraph is assailing it by means of an arrow or dart which is all afire with love. And the seraph pierces and in an instant cauterizes this soul which, like a red-hot coal, or better a flame, is already enkindled. The soul is converted into an immense fire of love. Few persons have reached these heights. Some have, however, especially those whose virtue and spirit were to be diffused among their children. For God accords to founders, with respect to the first fruits of the spirit, wealth and value commensurate with the greater or lesser following they will have in their doctrine and spirituality.
From Living Flame of Love, St. John of the Cross
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