In the public preaching of Jesus and in the “special education” to the very close followers (cf. Jn chap.13-16), love for neighbour is a recurring theme. He reminds them time and again the principal commandment of the old law, “love God with all your heart, with all your soul….. and your neighbour as yourself” (Mk 12, 30-31) and clarifies that the difference of his disciples will consist in loving to the extent of giving their life for others (Jn 15:12-13).
When Fr. Claret prays for this love with a great desire, it means that he is showing what he possesses and wants to grow more and more. Claret´s prefered image for this was the forge. In the west, there are no more blacksmith´s workshops as he knew in his time, but this doesn´t mean that we don´t understand this. On its own iron is cold and hard but placed in the fire it becomes soft and flexible and in fact, burns like the fire itself; we can´t touch it. When the iron reaches this almost liquid state (“the iron made into soup”, elderly people say), it is malleable and can be formed as we desire, this is what the blacksmith does by careful hammering.
There is a well known image of the potter in the bible (Jer 18:1-7) who shapes the clay as per his desire. Here we may remember the song of Adelaide A. Pollard (1907) “Thou art the Potter, I am the clay….”. She expresses a noble desire: that God gives it the shape he would desire.
According to Claret, we are like the iron and we need the fire of love to melt us so that Jesus can mould us. And the form we are called to attain is simply his: our vocation is none other than our total conformity with the Son to be children in him, sharing his project, his sentiments and when God wills, his glorious being.