Opened, like the ears and lips of Christ Himself. Through the prophet, the Lord had praised His heavenly Father: You have opened my ear, and I did not refuse, did not turn away.
In Luke’s gospel, we read about the time when the Lord Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and praised the Father, ‘Lord of heaven and earth, you have revealed Yourself to the childlike!’
We know that Jesus taught His doctrine openly. During His Passion, when the chief priests interrogated Him about what He had taught, the Lord could say with perfect honesty: You can ask the people who heard Me teach. I have not secrets, nothing to hide. Ask them.
So, indeed: If “transparency” is a virtue of a good leader, we can hardly imagine anyone more “transparent” than Jesus Christ Himself. No deceit was ever found in Him. On Mount Tabor, He went so far as to reveal the divine light, shining through Him, to His chosen Apostles. That light of perfect and complete truth—that light shone through the body of this man, born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth.
Then, on the cross, the ultimate opening occurred: The soldier thrust a lance into His side, opening His Heart. Blood and water flowed out, the fountainhead of eternal life. The openness of Christ is the openness of God. God opening Himself to us. It is literally impossible to imagine any more truly wonderful openness.
But, here’s the thing. Yes, the Messiah, our Lord, is altogether pure, honest–a vessel of the Light of Truth that penetrates all darkness. But: Don’t we also say that His Heart contains a hidden abyss of goodness, unfathomable depths of love, a mystery that no eye can see nor tongue proclaim?
Let me quote St. Francis de Sales on this:
Behold him, this divine love of the beloved, how he stands behind the wall of his humanity, making himself to be seen through the wounds of his body and the opening of his side, as by windows, and as by a lattice through which he looks out on us…
Our Savior’s Heart, as upon his royal throne, beholds by the cleft of his pierced side all the hearts of the sons of men: for this Heart being the King of hearts keeps his eyes ever fixed upon hearts. But as those that look through a lattice see others clearly, and are but half-seen themselves, so the divine love of this Heart, or rather this Heart of divine love, continually sees our hearts clearly and regards them with the eyes of his love, but we do not see Him. We only half see Him. (Treatise on the Love of God, Book V, chapter 11)
So: Although our Lord outdoes the transparency of the most-transparent people we know, we still have to walk by obscure faith in unseen things.
God sees all. And on the last day, we will see everything, in God’s light. But, in the meantime, we stumble along, trying to hold fast to the truth, knowing that we do not know everything.
Ok. Our Church floats along in the middle of a colossal controversy right now. At the highest level of authority, charges of negligence remain unanswered.
Is it all about who knew what and when? Or is it about who knows how to handle things like this better?
Hopefully it is about knowing right from wrong. The Lord always helps us to do that, to know right from wrong. He may confront us with difficult moral choices. But He never leaves us without an honest path forward, one we can take with a clear conscience.
The duty we all have is to follow that path, the path of an honest conscience, of a “transparent person”–to follow that path into an uncertain future.
In my book, our Holy Father has not responded in an honest manner to the controversy. He has not made himself transparent regarding the facts about Theodore McCarrick, facts which I know a lot about. And it looks to me like the pope has fallen into dishonesty regarding other cases involving prelates and sex abuse. That said, I certainly don’t know everything.
I wish Pope Francis would step aside, trusting God to provide a new shepherd who could actually tackle this crisis honestly and give us a fresh start.
But it’s the Pope’s decision to make. We all have to make our decisions. As honestly, as forthrightly, as “transparently” as we can. Knowing full well that only God knows everything.