Ricci Institute workshop: Transform yourself through silence, contemplation

Marco Carvalho

The Ricci Institute of Macau promoted last Saturday the first of eight monthly workshops on contemplation and leadership that it intends to organize until the end of the current year. The initiative, which took place on the premises of the Jesuit Residence in Saint Augustine’s Square, was first organized over 15 years ago by Father Stephan Rothlin, a Swiss Jesuit. As the current director of the Macau Ricci Institute, Father Rothlin will once more be the instructor of the workshops.

The contemplation sessions draw inspiration from the experience of personal transformation on which Saint Ignatius of Loyola embarked 500 years ago and aim to encourage the daily practice of contemplative meditation among the participants. “These workshops may inspire participants, above all, to stick to a regular daily practice of contemplative silence, which will bring about a transformation of their self,” Father Rothlin told O Clarim. He continued, saying, “In fact, the focus of this workshop is within the Ignatian Year – which runs from May 2021 through July 2022 – with a special memory of the spiritual transformation of the lives of St. Ignatius and St. Francis Xavier. Therefore, since May 2021, I have been organizing sessions of contemplation which are especially aimed at busy professionals. Next time we will make a special effort to reach out to health and social workers, who feel quite exhausted due to the many challenges of the pandemic.”

In addition to a practical component of contemplative meditation, the workshops also include moments of prayer and introspection using sacred texts, leading the participants to a deeper understanding of the Bible and the Word of God. This time, the focus is on the Book of Psalms. Father Rothlin explains, “Contemplative silence offers a whole new and more comprehensive insight into the Bible. During the itinerary of the Ignatian Year, we familiarize ourselves with the extremely rich treasure of the 150 Psalms, which not only offer a key to the whole Bible, but also describe all the human feelings and the unassailable faith of King David as a faithful servant of the Lord, despite his many failures.”

Ever since Father Rothlin began promoting contemplation workshops 15 years ago, more than 600 participants have made an effort to understand how silence and meditation can help pave the way for personal transformation.

The workshops on contemplation and leadership by the Macau Ricci Institute will last until the end of the year and take place mostly on the last Saturday of each month. The second contemplation session is scheduled for April 27th. The remaining initiatives will take place on May 28th, June 25th, August 27th, October 22nd, November 26th and December 17th. Participants are advised to bring their own copy of the Holy Bible.