OF FATHER IGNACIO LARRAÑAGA
In order to make known to future generations the charism that God has inspired Father Ignacio Larrañaga, and as the wealth of his spiritual legacy was brewing, the TOVPIL Foundation wishes to present a brief overview of the main spiritual sources that he has noted as significant in the development of his spiritual life as a priest and teacher of prayer.
From a young age he felt called to a contemplative life, to retire to live in an hermitage, an aspiration that he never fully fulfilled because life was opening paths very opposed to his intimate yearning for contemplation. The Lord called him to always be on the move and facing the people of God to announce the good news of the Father's merciful and gratuitous love and to that he dedicated his whole life.
As he said many times, he saw it essential to cultivate a close and permanent intimacy deal with a Loving Father, looking for him as Jesus had done, in silence and loneliness, in order to nourish him to deliver his message of life and love.
His soul found echo in several mystics of Christian prayer, true models of holy life in the Church, which served as inspiration and encouragement to passionately pursue the dazzling figure of Jesus.
From each of them he took some characteristic, that which best harmonized with his own experience of God, to try to assimilate it to his personality. He always fought to act with the sweetness of Jesus, despite his impulsive and impatient genetic constitution, and managed to soften his character over the years.
San Francisco de Asis
Saint Francis of Assisi particularly attracted him and impacted him from a young age for his Easter spirituality, for his love of neighbor and his fidelity to sister poverty.
He tells us: “Over the years, studying and reading Francisco de Asís, meditating and living with him, I realized that my soul had a mysteriously strong empathy with Francisco de Asís and his ideals were also the ideal of my life".
And that is how he wrote “The Brother of Assisi”, the book that Father Ignacio calls “more mine” because he feels that, although it is a biography, it is at the same time the deep life of Francisco, with experiences that have also gone through His own life. He wrote it in just over two months, however, it is the result of many years of "remembering", living and transmitting to St. Francis and Franciscan spirituality.
In Mary, The Mother, as she liked to call him, sums up her human and spiritual personality as "Mary, the poor of God." Admire and highlight her fertile motherhood and fidelity to God's design in darkness and silence, poverty and humility. He writes "The silence of Mary" where he introduces us to the strong woman of the Bible, with traits of tenderness, sweetness, but also of firmness, courage and determination, wondering how he achieved such harmony?
The greatness of the Mother is that when she does not understand something she does not react distressed, impatient, irritated, anxious or scared. Instead he takes the typical attitude of the Poor of God: full of peace, patience and sweetness, he encloses himself and is internalized, thinking, what will these words mean? What will be the will of God in all this? Thus she retreats within herself, and full of peace, she identifies herself with the disconcerting will of God, accepting the mystery of life.
In his youth he also began to deepen the letters of St. Paul, especially those addressed to the Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians which he describes as a formidable adventure, a bottomless pit where the blessed Face of Christ shines, "He who has come" , "He who is coming" expressions that do not contradict or annul themselves, but rather complement each other by walking in unison toward fullness. In Hebrews, he admires this invitation to risk, putting his own existence in crisis many times, accepting the commitment of faith and moving towards unknown horizons, just as he himself did, passing where the Lord opened the doors, without knowing where was it going ...
San Juan de la Cruz
Another determining saint in his life was, Saint John of the Cross. In the year 1969 of visiting Duruelo, he prays ardently to follow in the footsteps of this saint, he is excited to see how he “hides”, how he hides and sinks in silence; He is fascinated by the fact that nothing matters to him, that everyone forgets it, that nobody remembers him, disappears so that only God shines. He concludes that, by this steep and cut path, in the biblical nakedness of these two words: ONLY GOD, in solitude with the Lord, in the intimacy illuminated by God, can achieve this ideal that he wishes to make his own. From there on, follow the path of swimming. "I am not sorry for anything, I am not glorified at all," these words will be your food, strength and comfort until the last moment of your life.
Teresa of Avila
Someone in his life to whom he had special admiration, is Saint Teresa of Avila. Being in Alba de Tormes before his grave and remembering the tireless work of this "restless and wandering woman" he asks himself, what do I do? And he confides that he wants to reach a complete conversion, that he begs the Lord to achieve this dream, that it gives him a very hard and unwavering faith, that uproots him from all earthly and human realities. Let him make him poor, humble, clean and straight. He asks Saint Teresa to give him above all his prayer that where all the misfortunes and sorrows were burned. And the wisdom of his immortal verses: Nothing disturbs you, nothing frightens you, only God is enough.
Charles de Foucauld
Charles de Foucauld, whom he considered very similar to Saint John of the Cross, was another holy man who greatly inspired him. His teachings were a strong stimulus in maintaining and intensifying his contemplative mood and the place that the practice of “deserts” occupied in his life, leading him to repeated acts of surrender and abandonment until he could say in the face of any difficulty: “Okay, Father , everything is fine". In these deserts of hours alone with God, he was able to shed himself in sorrows or joys, to abandon himself in the hands of a Loving Father.
Teieita de Lisieux
For whom he felt a special affection was Teresita Lisieux whom she considers a teacher in the area of dryness and aridity and on any dark night. And this not only because of the simple and dramatic analysis of his descriptions but also because of the integrity with which he lived them. It surprises him that even before taking the habit, just retired from the world, he can say: "Beside Jesus, nothing, dryness ... sleep." He echoed his own personal insignificance.
He admired how she lived identified in God, reaching a supreme freedom, typical of spiritual childhood, as she relates in her Complete Works: “To remain a child is to recognize his own nothing, to expect everything from God, as a child expects everything from his father, not worrying about anything, not pretending fortune ... Being small means not attributing to himself the virtues that are practiced, believing himself capable of something, but recognizing that God puts that treasure of virtue in the child's hand, but it is always God's treasure "
Ignacio Larrañaga, a man of God, capable of infecting us with his faith and hope, a true lover of God, spoke and continues to speak of Jesus Christ with tears in his eyes. He made his original spiritual journey by inviting thousands to seek the Face of God, to embark on the adventure of faith, to make the great leap into the void, in pure faith, to abandon himself in the Father's all loving hands.
This is how this human being whose heart burned in the fire of his love for God, was taking inspiration from these great saints and making the gifts that the Lord bestowed, to grow spiritually and humanly, patiently modeling his character to be a better person , best priest, and unconditional brother of those who suffer.
He passed through the world as a witness of Jesus Christ, doing good to thousands of people, and announcing what he has "seen and heard" fulfilling Jesus' own mandate: "Go and proclaim the Gospel throughout the earth."