29 July

Jul 29, 2018 | Claret With You

“At the beginning of my stay in Vic I was undergoing an experience not unlike what goes on in a blacksmith’s shop. The smith thrusts an iron bar into the furnace, and when it is white-hot he draws it out, places it on the anvil, and begins to hammer it. His assistant joins in, and the two of them keep alternating hammer-blows in a sort of rhythmic dance until the iron takes the shape the smith had planned. You, my Lord and Master, thrust my heart into the furnace of the Spiritual Exercises and frequent reception of the Sacraments; and after thus setting my heart on fire with love for you and the Blessed Virgin Mary, you began to hammer away at me with humiliations, and I, too, began hammering away with my particular examen on this virtue that I needed so badly”
Aut 342


This is one of the many images Claret uses in his reflections and commentaries that have gone beyond many others, because it reflects one of the most important aspects of the saint´s spirituality. In our current urban culture, many of us are led away from the wealth of images the forge provides us in the blacksmith’s workshop.
When we read the text for the first time, the image can provoke certain violence, because it refers to the blows of the hammer. However, these hammerings are not destructive for two reasons. Firstly, the smith and his helper are aware that the material they hammer is an iron rod. They do it ensured of the metal´s resistance. Secondly, we have to also take into consideration that the rigid material can be moulded and modified with the intense heat and strong blows of the tool.
The heat, in the figure that Claret develops, is an image of the love of God and of Mary that precisely makes “soft” our heart which is very easy experience, because they show the target towards which we are going, namely the holiness to which the Father calls us.
So we are invited to place ourselves with confidence into the hands of the Lord so that He may transform us tenderly. Jesus came “to bring fire on earth” (Lk 12:49); he made use of the images of “the narrow gate”, “taking up the cross” and others. In this sense, Claret adds some new images that represent this profound gospel reality.
It will be good to sketch out itineraries of personal growth that may favour our docility to what the Lord wants from us, our flexibility to the form he would like to give us and we accept with decision and confidence. What is the degree of our confidence and freedom to allow “the divine potter” who wants to mould us?

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