The call for transparency

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

“THERE is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.” (Lk 8,17) With these words of Christ, we are obviously told to be transparent in all our thoughts, desires, intentions, words and deeds. Yes, there is such need also for discretion and tact, but these should not be an excuse or a cover to be any less transparent.

As to how we can be both transparent and discreet and tactful, Christ also gave us an idea. And that is that we should just try our best to be the light for others, to give good example to others, edifying them always with God or with the right intention. “No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed,” he said. “Rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light.” (Lk 8,16)

To be sure, if we manage to be a light to others by being transparent without compromising the need for discretion, our life would be much lighter and happier. We would unload ourselves of unnecessary burdens. What is more, we would keep our good relations with God and with others. Our life would be much simpler and properly focused on its true ultimate purpose.

We should really work on our need for transparency and sincerity. We cannot deny that many are the elements nowadays that can undermine that need. Signs and even structures of hypocrisy, deceit, corruption and the like are all around us. Sad to say, they seem to be the mainstream culture today.

Consider again what benefits a good sense of transparency can give us. It will help us develop and sustain our integrity in life. It means that everything that we do is good, that is, morally good. Of course, this sense of transparency can only take root when it is based on our faith in God who sets all the laws in our life, and therefore, all that is good for us.

We have to realize more deeply that before God, nothing can be hidden. We therefore have to adapt a lifestyle that would make us do everything in his presence. In fact, we are not simply meant to do things in his presence. It is more to do everything for God’s glory. Thus, when we do things without God in mind, let us be warned that we are already doing things wrongly.

We should not base our sense of transparency on human, natural and worldly criteria alone. These latter standards do not capture all the good that is proper to us. At best, they may just be silent about the finer nuances and consequences of what is generally good for us. We have to remember that many mysteries shroud our understanding of things.

But what is bad nowadays is that our human laws and worldly standards have started to go against God’s will. This, of course, can be due to our limitations in truly understanding God’s law. But it can also be due to our sinfulness and malice. Nowadays, I believe it is the latter that has led us to make laws that are openly against God’s law. We need to do something drastic about this predicament.

And we can start by being sincere in our confessions and spiritual direction. It is indeed necessary that we be brutally sincere when we go to confession and to spiritual direction. We have to learn to lay all our cards on the table so that the human instruments used by God to help us in our spiritual life, can truly help us.