Pope Francis, Laudato Si and the Via Creativa leading to Via Transformativa

We are meditating on how the Via Creativa and the Via Transformativa meld together.

In a previous meditation, we invoked Pope Francis’ encyclical about the environment, “Laudato Si,” as a good example of the Via Positiva and Via Negativa at work in response to the ecological crisis.  In the same document Pope Francis calls us to the Via Creativa as well—our vast potential as a species to make a difference and to create new ways of living on the earth. 

Pope Francis’ encyclical may be read or downloaded here

Pope Francis invokes the word “creativity” at least sixteen times in this encyclical in passages such as the following: 

–The Holy Spirit possesses an “infinite creativity” and we share in that creativity. 

–“Human creativity cannot be suppressed” but it needs to be put to the use “of the service of others” since “it is “a form of power involved in considerable risks.” 

–It is this “admirable creativity” that inspires people to make a difference in combatting the forces of industrialization and more that are destroying the planet and in building cities that are respectful of humans and environment alike.

–He calls on institutions to “stimulate creativity” (I hope he has the church in mind as well when he says this) and criticizes those who would “stifle creativity” (church too?).

Human nervous system. Picture taken from needpix.com

–He urges people to live more mindfully of the needs of the Earth and commit to lifestyles of greater simplicity that will in turn result in a “generous and worthy creativity which brings out the best in human beings.” 

–Indeed, the very crisis of our times requires an “ecological conversion [that] can inspire us to greater creativity and enthusiasm in resolving” the world’s problems. 

The Community of Rosedale gathering to plant in the community garden. Photo can be found HERE

Laudato Si moves from the Via Creativa into the Via Transformativa, an organic way that we have recognized in recent Daily Meditations.  The Via Transformativa is everywhere in this encyclical since it is a call to action and not just to analysis. 

The basics of the encyclical are essentially as follows:

–The ecological crisis of our times, the despoiling of Mother Earth, parallels the despoiling of the poor on the planet. 

–It derives from both a perverted view of the world and economic and political structures that carry on this perversion which is evident in the unsustainable income extremes of the superrich and the poor as well as indifference to the greed, waste, and materialism that a consumer society generates. 

–We live in an interconnected world and it is high time we started acting like it, seeking a common good and not just a private hoarding. 

The current state of affairs has triggered “sister earth, along with all the abandoned of our world, to cry out, pleading that we take another course.” 

Adapted from Matthew Fox: Pope Francis: Mixing the Vias Positiva and Negativa in Appeal for Creation

Banner Image: Food forest picture from article on the rise of food forests in local communities. For more on food forests and developing your own, please click HERE

Queries for Contemplation

Do you sense that you too share in the creativity of the Holy Spirit?  Is it your experience that institutions you associate with today are “stimulating creativity” and not stifling it?  If not, what are you doing about it?

Are you involved in an “ecological conversion”?

Recommended Reading

Because creativity is the key to both our genius and beauty as a species but also to our capacity for evil, we need to teach creativity and to teach ways of steering this God-like power in directions that promote love of life (biophilia) and not love of death (necrophilia). Pushing well beyond the bounds of conventional Christian doctrine, Fox’s focus on creativity attempts nothing less than to shape a new ethic.

Matthew Fox’s comprehensive translation of Meister Eckhart’s sermons is a meeting of true prophets across centuries, resulting in a spirituality for the new millennium. The holiness of creation, the divine life in each person and the divine power of our creativity, our call to do justice and practice compassion–these are among Eckhart’s themes, brilliantly interpreted and explained for today’s reader.

By Matthew Fox, Skylar Wilson, and Jen Listug
“The Order of the Sacred Earth not only calls us home to our true nature as Earth, but also offers us invaluable guidance and company on the way.” 
~~ Joanna Macy, environmental activist and author of Active Hope
“The creation of the Order of the Sacred Earth is a magnificent step forward for humanity.”  ~~ Andrew Harvey, author of Way of Passion and The Hope.

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