THE SYMPOSIUM OF THE MACAU RICCI INSTITUTE ENDS TODAY – Contemplation, mission and martyrdom in debate

– Marco Carvalho

The spiritual legacy of both Alfred Delp, a German Jesuit executed by the nazi regime and Watchman Nee, a Chinese evangelical leader who died in a labor camp in Anhui Province in 1972, were evoked this Thursday at the start of the Macau Ricci Institute’s annual symposium. The event is being held at the premises of Saint Joseph’s Seminary and lasts until this afternoon.

Both Delp and Nee were introduced as examples of unconditional surrender to Christ, not only because they gave their lives for their principles, but also because their convictions were reinforced due to contemplation, despite the great sufferance they were submitted go.

Contemplation and martyrdom are the central themes of the symposium with which the Ricci Institute of Macau celebrates its twentieth anniversary. The choice, Father Stephan Rohtlin explains, is also an appeal, at a time in which the very experience of faith on the part of a great number of Catholics is characterized by a certain superficiality: “I think that in Catholic Faith we have also become very superficial. These talks that we have heard remind us that we have to reconnect to this sort of contemplative depth. It was very moving to see, for instance, the example of Delp facing the Nazi regime and how his contemplative experience helped him to resist evil”, the director of the Ricci Institute told “O Clarim”. “I think today we lack this contemplative depth. I am surprised to hear that sometimes even church people don’t find time for prayer and contemplation. I hope this symposium can inspire us all to see this entire link, to really be faithful to the Gospel, while being constantly reconnected to this contemplative depth of this experience with God”, the Swiss Jesuit adds.

This year’s edition of the international symposium organized by the Macau Ricci Institute brings together about six dozen academics and specialists, as well as Jesuits from all over the world. Among the guests of the event is Anton Jamnik, auxiliary-bishop of Ljubljana and a professor of philosophy and ethics in the Slovenian capital biggest university. He sustains that both martyrdom and contemplation are still relevant in the globalized world we live in: “It is really important nowadays to speak heart to heart. If we are full of freedom, if we are full of joy, full of hope inside us, we can be there for the other people, for our neighboors, whatever their religion is”, the coadjutor says. “Meditation and contemplation are very, very important in our ordinary life. I will talk tomorrow about this; the malaise of this globalized world we are living in is this blind ambition to have money, money and money, to have power and to have pleasure. What this the solution, what can we do? First of all, we have to be aware that the main miracle is the miracle of life. We have to be a gift to other people, to have a positive impact to our society, to our neighbors”, Anton Jamnik exhorts.

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