AUXILIARY BISHOP OF LJUBLJANA IN MACAU FOR THE MRI SYMPOSIUM – Contemplation sets the tone for Ricci Institute’s 20th anniversary conference

– Marco Carvalho

Contemplation, mission and martyrdom. These are some of the concepts that will be discussed next Thursday and Friday, as part of the international symposium with which the Ricci Institute of Macau celebrates its 20th anniversary. The initiative, which aims to address the contribution of contemplation to the affirmation of an ethical leadership, brings Anton Jamnik, Auxiliary Bishop of Ljubljana, to Macau.

“In actione contemplativus.” A central aspect of Ignatian spirituality, contemplation sets the tone for the 2019 edition of the annual Symposium    organized by the Macau Ricci Institute. The event, which will take place on the 17th and 18th of  October at the Saint Joseph Seminary, will bring to Macau more than two dozen scholars and lecturers, including the auxiliary Bishop of Ljubljana, Anton Jamnik or Martin Meier, Secretary for European Affairs of the Jesuit European Social Center.

During two days, the Ricci Institute proposes to address concepts such as the sense of mission, the historical relevance of martyrdom or the contribution of contemplation to the development of ethical and useful leadership. Most of the debate will focus precisely on the practice of contemplation, an option that was explained to O Clarim by Father Stephen Rothlin, director of the Macau Ricci Institute: “Contemplation opens the necessary space for silence, reflection, which is the basis for a mission of the common good,” the Swiss Jesuit explains. “A leader which is rooted in contemplation is likely to be in a better position to take informed decisions,” Father Rothlin adds.

The debate on the relevance of contemplative practices will happen almost entirely on the second day of the symposium, with the first being devoted to concepts such as mission, memory and martyrdom. Anton Jamnik will moderate a first session devoted to the perception of martyrdom in countries such as Japan and Laos, in a debate that will feature interventions by historians Roland Jacques and Paul Spooner and Portuguese scholar Cristina Osswald.

On the second day of the symposium, the auxiliary bishop of Ljubljana will address the relationship between mysticism, contemplation and Christian life, in one of the presentations that are part of the first of the panels devoted entirely to the theme of contemplation. The contemplative traditions characteristic of Asian religions will also be addressed, Father Stephen Rothlin told O Clarim: “I will refer to Pope John Paul II who expressed his great hope twenty years ago that the Contemplative wisdom traditions of Asia will have a crucial impact on modern societies. Although their contemplative traditions have not always been cultivated and sometimes even been destroyed these contemplative traditions in Asia including Buddhism, Taoism and Islam continue to have an influence,” the director of the Macau Ricci Institute claims. “These traditions may challenge the Church to go much further in exploring the emotional and cultural contexts where the Gospel should take deep roots and become more creative in its dialogue with other wisdom traditions and cultures,” the Swiss Jesuit concluded.