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Transparency in the Spiritual Life


March 17, 2024 

Father Francis C. Chukwuma 




It is clear to us that people hide things and even themselves from others. This is because our daily experience is perennially hungry for designer-everything, perfect faces, perfect lives, perfect everything. It is an age where objects and images of perfection are idealized. And when one encounters some imperfection, one is referred to an app to crop it and filter it. Hence, we tinker with our selfies and edit our online profiles to achieve perfection. Unfortunately, we relate in the same manner with God. Now, our discussion is not about transparency of the church in her ministry, but about one’s personal transparent relationship with God.  




Now, when we talk about a transparent person, we mean that person who doesn’t pretend to be what one is not, who can laugh at himself/herself, and who is upfront and honest. So, transparency is operating in such a way that it is easy for others to see what actions are performed (1). It implies openness, communication, and accountability. As it was, in the case of an object, this object must have the quality of allowing light to pass through so that objects behind can be distinctly seen (2). In other words, transparent people are honest, open, and authentic in their communication and behavior. They are willing to share their thoughts and emotions, even if they are vulnerable or uncomfortable in sharing. Transparent people respect the truth and do not lie, manipulate, or deceive. They are also receptive to feedback and criticism, and they do not get defensive or angry when challenged (3). Again, transparency is not just about revealing information; rather it is about fostering trust, accountability, and openness in our interactions with others. 




The first four of these obstacles (fears) also apply to our being transparent with other people. The last applies to our being transparent in our prayers and in our relationship with God. 

·         Fear of appearing unholy, unsaintly if we let others (and God) know who we really are 

·         Fear of admitting weakness and being vulnerable. This opens us to having others take advantage of us  

·         Fear of being ridiculed by others (God would never ridicule us)/  

·         Fear of losing control in our dealing with others or with God (do I really want Him to have control of my life?) 

·         Fear of the responsibility that comes from getting from God what we have prayed for. What will I do if He grants my prayer? How will my life change? Can I handle it? 

Despite these fears, anyone wanting to grow spiritually needs to be transparent with God.  



Promotes Humility and Integrity  

Prov 11:2-3. “When pride comes, disgrace comes; but with humility is wisdom. The honesty of the upright guides them; the faithless are ruined by their duplicity” 

John 1:47 (Like Nathaneal, whom Jesus call an Israelite without duplicity)  

Promotes Life as Light 

Eph 5:8 “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light”. 

“You are the light of the world” (Matt 5:14)  

“Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.” (Mother Teresa) 

 Reduces the need to seek Human Approval 


1 Pt 3:14-16. “But even if you should suffer because of righteousness, blessed are you. Do not be afraid or terrified with fear of them but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame.”  


Ensures Strength in and from Christ 


2 Cor 12:9-10 “…but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong”. 

Matt 14:30-31 (As in when Peter recognized his weakness and fear while walking on Water) 

Mak 10:46-52 (Jesus still had to ask Bartimaeus to declare what he wanted to be done for him)  


Promotes Relationship and Communication 


2 Cor 1:18-22 “As God is faithful, our word to you is not “yes” and “no.” For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was proclaimed to you by us, Silvanus and Timothy and me, was not “yes” and “no,” but “yes” has been in him. For however many are the promises of God, their Yes is in him; therefore, the Amen from us also goes through him to God for glory. But the one who gives us security with you in Christ and who anointed us is God; he has also put his seal upon us and given the Spirit in our hearts as a first installment”.  

Scares Away the Devil  

1 Pt 5:8-9 “Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings.  

Discourages Slander or Gossip  

Eph 4:27-29 “…and do not leave room for the devil…No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear.”  

Invites Another to Know Who We Truly Are  

Jn 3:19-21 “And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.”   

Reduces Being Prideful  

2 Cor 10:17-18 “’Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.’ For it is not the one who recommends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord recommends.”   



Portugal (March 8): At age 8 John lost contact with his parents, probably because he wasa kidnapped as a shepherd. He became a solider at 22 and lived all manner of a delinquent life. One day at age 42, he got thrown off a stolen horse and received a dramatic conversion like St Paul. Saint John started public penance (self-flagellation) which landed him in prison. He was visited by St John of Avila who told him that instead of those public acts of self-abuse, he could serve God by touching the lives of people and helping those in need. From then on, he got involved in helping the needy and sick. He founded the Order of Hospitallers who did such work and died in Granada in 1550. Saint John of God He is the patron of Hospitals, Health Facilities, the Sick, Nurses, Shepherds, and Soldiers, and can assist us with the hope of conversion from our sinful life at any age, and in the praying, fasting and almsgiving required of us. But also, he can assist us in being transparent with God, which will draw to us real assistance and growth. 




One can add to these Psalms to one’s Prayer:


PSALM 8 (God's Glory vs. Humanity's Weakness)


Lord, our Lord,
   how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory
   in the heavens.
2 Through the praise of children and infants
   you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
   to silence the foe and the avenger.
3 When I consider your heavens,
   the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
   which you have set in place,
4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
   human beings that you care for them?

5 You have made them a little lower than the angels
   and crowned them with glory and honor.
6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
   you put everything under their feet:
7 all flocks and herds,
   and the animals of the wild,
8 the birds in the sky,
   and the fish in the sea,
   all that swim the paths of the seas.

9 Lord, our Lord,
   how majestic is your name in all the earth!


PSALM 143 (the admission of a soul to the truth of his or her being)


Lord, hear my prayer,
   listen to my cry for mercy;
in your faithfulness and righteousness
   come to my relief.
2 Do not bring your servant into judgment,
   for no one living is righteous before you.
3 The enemy pursues me,
   he crushes me to the ground;
he makes me dwell in the darkness
   like those long dead.
4 So my spirit grows faint within me;
   my heart within me is dismayed.
5 I remember the days of long ago;
   I meditate on all your works
   and consider what your hands have done.
6 I spread out my hands to you;
   I thirst for you like a parched land.[a]

7 Answer me quickly, Lord;
   my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me
   or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
   for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
   for to you I entrust my life.
9 Rescue me from my enemies, Lord,
   for I hide myself in you.
10 Teach me to do your will,
   for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
   lead me on level ground.

11 For your name’s sake, Lord, preserve my life;
   in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies;
   destroy all my foes,
   for I am your servant.




One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said: “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, ego, false pride, superiority, lies and deceit. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, faith, honesty, and openness”. The grandson thought about it for a minute and the asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?” The old Cherokee simply replied: “The one you feed.” 


If we seek transparency with God and with others, and continually feed that desire by practicing transparency, then this virtue of honesty will thrive in us. So will all other virtues, for transparency (admitting who we are) stems from humility. Humility, Saint Augustine noted, “is the root of all virtues.”  



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