In speaking of the Via Transformativa, Matthew says in Matthew Fox: Essential Writings on Creation Spirituality, “The creation spiritual journey culminates in compassion—which is both justice-making and celebration. Justice and joy equally make up our spiritual journeys.”

Rocker Jon Bon Jovi uses his influence to help feed the homeless and needy, at his JBJ Soul Kitchen in New Jersey. Video by CBS Sunday Morning. 

God is experienced in our struggle for justice, healing, compassion, and celebration (via transformativa).

The creation-centered spiritual tradition considers compassion rather than contemplation as the fulfillment of the spiritual journey that takes one back to one’s origins in renewed ways. It considers justice to be absolutely integral to the spiritual journey. 

Compassion is the moral law of interconnectivity,
the cosmic law of responding to another’s pain and suffering
as well as to another’s joy and celebration. 

Christ driving the merchants from the temple. Engraving by Jean-Baptiste Haussard. Wikimedia Commons.

Compassion is knowing about the suffering and pain of others. It is, in some way, knowing that pain, entering into it, sharing it and tasting it, in so far as that is possible.

Compassion is not so simplistic as turning the other cheek. It might mean at times taking whips and driving out moneylenders with anger and threats.

See Charles Burach, ed., Matthew Fox: Essential Readings in Creation Spirituality, p. 59.

See also Fox, A New Reformation: Creation Spirituality and the the Transformation of Christianity, p. 88.

And Fox, Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality, p. 247.

And Fox, Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth, p. 45.

And Fox, A Spirituality Named Compassion: Uniting Mystical Awareness with Social Justice, pp. 21 and 73.

Banner Image: True compassion is the ability to sympathetic and empathetic and giving a helping hand. Photo by U3190523. Wikimedia Commons

Queries for Contemplation

Share an experience where you were able to show compassion for another.

Recommended Reading

Matthew Fox: Essential Writings on Creation Spirituality
Selected with an Introduction by Charles Burack

To encapsulate the life and work of Matthew Fox would be a daunting task for any save his colleague Dr. Charles Burack, who had the full cooperation of his subject. Fox has devoted 50 years to developing and teaching the tradition of Creation Spirituality and in doing so has reinvented forms of education and worship.  His more than 40 books, translated into 78 languages, are inclusive of today’s science and world spiritual traditions and have awakened millions to the much neglected earth-based mystical tradition of the West. Essential Writings begins by exploring the influences on Fox’s life and spirituality, then presents selections from all Fox’s major works in 10 sections.
“The critical insights, the creative connections, the centrality of Matthew Fox’s writings and teaching are second to none for the radical renewal of Christianity.” ~~ Richard Rohr, OFM.

A New Reformation: Creation Spirituality & The Transformation of Christianity

A modern-day theologian’s call for the radical transformation of Christianity that will allow us to move once again from the hollow trappings of organized religion to genuine spirituality. A New Reformation echoes the Reformation initiated by Martin Luther in 1517 and offers a new vision of Christianity that values the Earth, honors the feminine, and respects science and deep ecumenism.
“This is a deep and forceful book….With prophetic insight, Matthew Fox reveals what has corrupted religion in the West and the therapy for its healing.” ~Bruce Chilton, author of Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography

Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality

Matthew Fox lays out a whole new direction for Christianity—a direction that is in fact very ancient and very grounded in Jewish thinking (the fact that Jesus was a Jew is often neglected by Christian theology): the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality, the Vias Positiva, Negativa, Creativa and Transformativa in an extended and deeply developed way.
Original Blessing makes available to the Christian world and to the human community a radical cure for all dark and derogatory views of the natural world wherever these may have originated.” –Thomas Berry, author, The Dream of the Earth; The Great Work; co-author, The Universe Story

Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth

Fox’s spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in North American Creation Spirituality and in South American Liberation Theology. Creation Spirituality challenges readers of every religious and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and the people who inhabit it as the gift of a good and just Creator.
“A watershed theological work that offers a common ground for religious seekers and activists of all stripes.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.

A Spirituality Named Compassion: Uniting Mystical Awareness with Social Justice

In A Spirituality Named Compassion, Matthew Fox delivers a profound exploration of the meaning and practice of compassion. Establishing a spirituality for the future that promises personal, social, and global healing, Fox marries mysticism with social justice, leading the way toward a gentler and more ecological spirituality and an acceptance of our interdependence which is the substratum of all compassionate activity.
“Well worth our deepest consideration…Puts compassion into its proper focus after centuries of neglect.” –The Catholic Register

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7 thoughts on “Welcome to the Via Transformativa.”

  1. Avatar

    Surely, we drink from the waters of compassion as followers and doers of compassion and its acts. But how so and how much do we drink? Are we not also on a path that takes us to those same ‘waters’? What comes first, the ‘drink’ or what takes us there? We have compassion then do we not on those of us not yet ready to drink and who exhibit all sorts of unempathetic behaviours. Like we had been shown before while in a state of ignorance or lip service to compassion, we too are to take others on the path to compassion, are we not?

    In our compassion we have to find our strength. When my father died, my mother and sisters were not emotionally capable of making necessary arrangements. My role, with my heart broken as well, was to muster up the strength to carry the load for them all in one week. Making arrangements at the funeral home, visitations, the cemetery, the church, the songs, the reception, writing epitaphs for the gravestone, writing obituaries, writing eulogies. My dad would have wanted it that way and it was one way that I could show love and honour for what he meant to all of us as well. I still have a copy of the eulogy and remember having to ‘pull it all together; and read it out in the church for dad, mom, sisters, grandchildren, his brothers, sisters and friends. For some things we only have one time to either step up or let the moment pass us by. Compassion has its own strength that we can draw upon. — BB.

  2. Avatar

    Compasión brings about Compasión opens pne s fieles dedeep interconnectedness, awsreness of otjerd, theor situstions
    Nerds ando nerds nerds Nerds. nerds i’m all

  3. Avatar

    In my past profession as a clinical social worker and my current retirement ministry doing spiritual guidance, I have been blessed with many opportunities to share my compassion with individuals struggling in daily life or their spiritual journeys. I pray daily with my compassionate heart for our many sisters and brothers suffering poverty and social inequities/injustices around the world… Balancing existential suffering as part of our humanity and FAITH in our Spirit of Divine Love~Wisdom~Hope~Peace~Justice~Healing~Compassion~Joy~Transformation… LIVING in the PRESENT MOMENT within, through, among Us in building God’s Queendom~Kingdom on earth as it is in HEAVEN (our sacred eternal multidimensional spiritual realms) is always Lovingly challenging on Our eternal spiritual journeys towards LOVING DIVERSE ONENESS ….

  4. Avatar

    I believe most children are naturally compassionate and that it is “taught” out of them. When I was a very little girl, I was at a church picnic where we had a sack race, one of the simple games we played back in the 1950s. With other tiny children, I was jumping along toward the finish line when the boy next to me fell. As I stopped to help him up, I heard my parents yelling, “Go ahead. Don’t stop. You were winning!” Something like that. I was stunned. Why were they yelling that? I clearly recall looking up mystified and saying “But he fell.” I believe they must have felt some remorse. I’m really not sure. It didn’t make me want to get up and jump toward the finish line, though I believe after helping him up, I did, bewildered because now I didn’t know what was expected of me. Their words had conflicted with everything I thought they’d told me and every fiber of my being. I believe this is why we don’t follow the compassion we are born with. The society in which we live is full of confusing messages–even from our Christian teachers.

  5. Avatar

    Multiple difficult life situations and chronic illnesses of family members have challenged me to stretch into compassion. To name one: when my mom was declared terminally ill with cancer, my dad was simultaneously declared senile, and neither could take care of the other. My mom hated the idea of them dying in a nursing home. So I had to be declared the legal guardian of my dad and we had to all move in together. I took care of them while also caring for my 3 young kids. And a confused, senile man with multiple health issues was not an easy situation to handle. He had to be carefully monitored. I had to make sure my kids were safe from anything he might potentially do. Doctors were always closely involved in monitoring.

    My mom died at our home. I had to do all the funeral arrangements, plus the legal and financial paperwork. I cared for my dad until he died at home, too, and I had to do all the funeral and legal/financial paperwork again.

    I was able to care for my parents at home. But that’s not always possible, nor is it always safe or best for the senile or sick person and/or the caregiving family. Compassion sometimes involves tough choices and no easy solutions.

  6. Avatar

    I love the way Matthew stresses that the culmination of the spiritual journey is not contemplation but compassion, which necessarily involves loving actions. Contemplative practices can help but are not ends in themselves, as we all know. It is the same message that Richard Rohr teaches in his Center for Action and Contemplation. I have had many opportunities to be compassionate–sometimes listening and being present to someone in pain is healing, and I have done that often. Because of severe disability, I cannot be as active as I would like, but there is a small ministry at my church where I have for years sent out notes of condolence, or encouragement, or celebration to our members, as needed. Another woman helps, so that our “regulars” get a note every two weeks. It is a small but meaningful thing.

  7. Avatar

    Taking care of the elders in need over the past 20 years, has been the means in which through these relationships, compassion was and is cultivated and nurtured within myself as well as the elders… as it is reciprocal.

    However, I also wanted to mention the importance and neccesity of also extending this same compassion to oneself… as well as receiving this from Mother Earth through the creation of the all and the everything… and through one’s intimate relationship with Spirit.

    Compassion is not just about being given to another, but it is also about receiving it as well. I’ve personally always found it easier to extend this compassion to another than myself, and I’ve also struggled at times to receive compassion from others, including Spirit.

    There’s a balance between giving and receiving compassion … that is slowly unfolding, evolving and emerging within my souls journey as I continue to converge with this gift of compassion… which is expanding within all my relationships; as I learn to Mother myself a little more, discovering this through my relationship with the spiritual Mother of us all.

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