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A book: Juan Larrea: Un rayo de luz sobre fondo gris

“During a night of intense rain I returned home completely soaked and tried to do a bit of mental prayer. I asked our Lord with intensity to make me truly pleasing to him.” This is how Archbishop Juan Larrea of Guayaquil, Ecuador described the moment when he put himself at God’s disposal. It was like “a ray of light against a dark background.”

Antonio Vázquez makes use of this phrase as the title of his biography of the Ecuadorean prelate who died in 2006: Juan Larrea. Un rayo de luz sobre fondo gris “Juan Larrea: A Ray of Light Against a Dark Background”, published by Palabra.

According to the author, Archbishop Larrea always wanted to do God’s will, to please him, because “caritas Christi urget nos, Christ’s charity urges us on, as his Episcopal motto read.” This was his guiding rule since the time when, as a young man, he came to know the spirit of Opus Dei and found there an effective path for his own self-giving.

He met the founder of Opus Dei in 1948 in Rome and asked for admission to Opus Dei in 1949. He returned to Ecuador in 1952, where he worked as a lawyer and was a professor at the Central University of Quito. He was ordained a priest in 1962. In 1969 Paul VI appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of Quito. He served as Archbishop of Guayaquil from 1989 until 2003. He died with a reputation for holiness on August 27, 2006. His mortal remains are interred in the Cathedral of Guayaquil.

Romana, No. 49, July-December 2009, p. 329-330.