IN MARY’S FORGE
Fiesta de la Visitación. Cercanía de la Fiesta del I. Corazón de María.
Fr Claret had a special devotion to the Heart of Mary. He founded the Daughters of the Heart of Mary or ‘Religious in their homes’ (now secular institutes) and the Missionaries, Sons of the Heart of Mary. Wherever he missioned he established the Archconfraternity of the Heart of Mary. In a church in Vic he added a heart to the image of Our Lady of the Rosary. It seems that he was greatly influenced by the ‘Annals of the Archconfraternity of the Heart of Mary’ which worked in an important church in Paris.
But Claret always gives a personal imprint to these external influences. On speaking of the ‘Heart of Mary’ he tried to enter into its interior, bearing in mind the biblical meaning of the world ‘heart’ and what the Gospels tell us about Mary: ‘She kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.’ (Lk 2:19,51)
The biblical ‘heart’ is the seat of the whole interior of a person and also, of course, of their affective life. Claret contemplates the Heart of Mary as a forge, a place of burning love. He sees her as the person who most loved Jesus and most identified herself with his project, passionate about the things of God and concerned about her neighbour (cf. the wedding feast at Cana). He cannot but ask participation in this interior fire, in order to take on with this same ‘heat’ the causes which captivated her.
Claret did not lose sight of Jesus’ expression: “I have come to bring fire upon the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” (Lk 12:49) But there is a difference in meaning; in Jesus they were words of ‘judgement’ or of the apocalyptic transformation of the world and history. In Claret they meant a generalised spreading of charity, love for God and others; and he sees in Mary the one who can set hearts alight.