The source of the chill might have been an understanding that our only choice is pyre or pyre, that we live and breath to be consumed by fire or fire, not just now and at St. Bartholomew's, but always and anywhere. Consumed or purified by fire. ~Dean Koontz, Brother Odd, c.5I've been thinking about the four last things a bit lately. I remembered the preceding quote from Dean Koontz's Brother Odd, and since I had written it down in my notebook market "Quodlibet," which is currently sitting on my desk, I thought I'd use it as a place to begin.
I think, when you get right down to it, that our only real choice is how to burn. Will we burn like great saints, full of the fire of the Holy Spirit, the tongues of flame that fell on the Apostles and Our Lady at Pentecost? Will we burn with the fire of the Fathers, the Doctors, the Martyrs and all the other great saints whose learning, mysticism and, most importantly, love of God and faithfulness to Christ Jesus the Church holds up to us as examples to follow?
Will we burn in the purifying fires? Will we burn with a mixture of pain and joy? Pain from our purification, but joy from the knowledge that every moment of this pain brings us that much closer to seeing God face to face.
Or we will burn forever, in the fire set aside for the devil and his angels, where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched?
In the end, this is what all our choices in this life boil down to: how will we burn? Will it be with the fire of eternal life, the fire of sanctity and purification, the fire of the Holy Spirit and the burning bush, the fire of divine love, the Flame Imperishable? Or will we burn with the fire of eternal death, the death of joy, the death of hope, the death of love, the fire that consumes every illusion we thought was good and leaves us only with pain and the knowledge that we have freely chosen it?
How will we burn? For burn we surely shall.