There is a call for greater transparency throughout the world in government and individual actions. The US housing market is still suffering from a lack of forthrightness in the trading of mortgage securities. Slow aid response to the flooding in Pakistan has been attributed to a lack of transparency in the disbursement of the contributions. Many associate transparency with honesty. Sometimes we think that if what others are doing is visible, they will be more honest.
I believe the call for transparency isn’t one of viewing others’ actions in an effort to control them. I see transparency as a spiritual quality of thought resulting in unobstructed views of God’s goodness.
The founder of the Monitor, Mary Baker Eddy, stated in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “The manifestation of God through mortals is as light passing through the window-pane. The light and the glass never mingle, but as matter, the glass is less opaque than the walls. The mortal mind through which Truth appears most vividly is that one which has lost much materiality – much error – in order to become a better transparency for Truth. Then, like a cloud melting into thin vapor, it no longer hides the sun” (p. 295).
Some qualities of spiritual transparency are meekness, purity, generosity, inspiration, and honesty. These qualities result in clarity of thought and action. They fill our days with light and unlimited possibilities. Through them we see God expressed in people and actions.
The opposite qualities of thought – pride, corruption, greed, inflexibility, and dishonesty – are based in a false, material identity that is opposed to God. They appear to blot out goodness from our lives. But when we reject these mortal qualities of thought through prayer, we can feel the power of God helping us see more spiritually. We become a “transparency for Truth.”
The biblical story of Jesus and Zacchaeus, in the Gospel of Luke, provides an example. Zacchaeus was a tax collector evidently given to unscrupulous dealings. He had a brief encounter with Jesus that had a profound effect (see Luke 19:1-10).
As Jesus passed through Jericho, Zacchaeus was anxious to see Jesus, and because he was a short man, he climbed a tree to gain a better view. Jesus stopped by the tree and asked him to come down because he wanted to have a meal at his home. Zacchaeus came down immediately and declared his intention to reform. The story doesn’t indicate that Jesus scolded him or even mentioned his past activities. But it gives the reader a sense of a man with a radical change in character.
What brought on this change? The story doesn’t detail Zacchaeus’s prior actions. But the crowd was dissatisfied with Jesus for wanting to be a guest in his home. Social pressure had not reformed him. Could it be that Jesus saw past the mortal picture to Zacchaeus’s pure spiritual being and this recognition changed the man forever?
Jesus’ spiritual sense lifted up the tax collector. He was so transformed that he vowed to give half of his riches to the poor and to restore “fourfold” those he had wronged. Zacchaeus was now more fully expressing the good qualities of transparency. He was not only committing himself to being honest; he was also publicly expressing great generosity. Jesus proclaimed that salvation had come to Zacchaeus’s home.
The world’s troubles may loom large compared with the redemption of a tax collector or even our own personal problems. But as we each become a better “transparency for Truth,” we can see more clearly past the mortal picture to each person’s spiritual identity as a pure and loving child of God. Spiritual sense allows us to see God expressed throughout creation, resulting in generous acts of lovingkindness.
In our prayers for humanity we can affirm everyone’s spiritual qualities emanating from God as their real being, and also affirm that mortal sense can’t dim the light of Truth. As we do this, each one’s spiritual being will shine for all to see.