Father Ignacio Larrañaga Work
The Prayer and Life Workshops of Father Ignacio Larranaga are his fundamental work. They constitute the summit and crown of his apostolic activity, due to their dynamism, fruitfulness, and the great appreciation manifested towards them by the Holy See and the Bishops.
Origins. The PLW service arose as though by a seemingly spontaneous combustion in 1984, ten years after the Encounters-An Experience of God were initiated. A lady who had participated in one of those Encounters in Punta de Tralca, Chile, came to the Franciscan Center and expressed her opinion on the exceptional and unique richness that she had discovered in the Encounter. She felt that it was a shame that this experience was limited to those few people who could participate in an Encounter, without reaching the multitude of people who were hungry for God.
At that time, from among those people of God who had participated in the Encounters, there rose a large group of lay people. They were ready to get to work so that the Spirit and content of the Encounters would expand and spread throughout the bosom of the Church.
During the second half of 1984, a group of seventy lay people or so, met with Father Ignacio every fifteen days to verify, test, and try out different methods. They added or removed certain different elements, based upon the observations.
It was a long process of discernment, of filtering and maturing. And based on this ample experience, at the end of 1984, a brief, embryonic Manual was written.
An Explosive History. During the years of 1985 and 1986, as Father Ignacio traveled throughout different countries giving the Encounters – An Experience of God, each afternoon he set apart thirty minutes in order to give a step by step explanation about the Workshops. On the last afternoon he would ask the participants how many of those who were present felt the impulse and had the generosity to impart the first Workshops. To the fifteen or twenty people who would come forth, he would give detailed instructions, the small Manual and designate someone as the contact person. In the name of the Lord he gave them the authorization and blessing to begin the experience of the Workshops.
During the first two years, Workshops were given in fifteen countries. This impetuous beginning demonstrated the fundamental validity of the PLW as an instrument of evangelization. There were thousands of people who recovered the meaning of life and the joy of life, as well as their Christian and apostolic vocation. They discovered the Bible as a source of spiritual riches, and innumerable homes regained their harmony and peace.
His mission has expanded to more than 40 countries, where every year thousands of people learn to pray in various ways, through a personal relationship with the Lord. And they are able to free themselves from anguish, sadness and acquire a never imagined peace, at the same time introducing them to liturgical prayer and a sacramental life.
The work of Ignacio Larrañaga provides analysis and solutions, doctrines and an orientation for human needs and problems. These endeavors have helped millions of people to experience the enjoyment of inner freedom and the joy of life. His books have been translated into English, Portuguese and other languages. Although the author is Catholic, his message is valid for any Christian, any believer, and simply for any man or woman. This has already been demonstrated in many countries. In fact, many psychologists recommend his books to their patients.
“. . . the religious writer feels driven to write by an impelling inner force, a vital need to express himself and transmit to others his own inner riches, that more than anything are the fruit of a burning sense” (Apollinaire), “that is the overwhelming reason of life” (Guillermo de Torre, Literary Problems, Losada, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1951, p.69). “This is the same reasoning force as the intuition of St. Bonaventure, of contemplation rather than intellect
This applies to Ignacio Larrañaga’s books whose widespread diffusion and repercussions in the last ten years have been greater than the majority of Spanish speaking religious authors. This is why we choose to refer to him as a writer, not because his books offer a greater novellty from a literary point of view or his ideas, but for their experiential character and living testimony. They also offer authenticity and vitality, which explains their success, and places them among the truly faithful religious literature.”.
Taken from the book An Adventure of the Spirit by Camilo E. Luquín, OFM. Cap.