Posts Tagged ‘do not be afraid’

Morning Prayer for Friday, October 12, 2018 — “Fear is not a proper motivator. Hope wins out.”

October 12, 2018

“Fear is not a proper motivator. Hope wins out. If you think about how you want your kids to be raised, how you want to think about life and their opportunities, do you want them afraid of their neighbors? Do you want them angry? Do you want them vengeful?”

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Prayer to Overcome Fear

Lord, You are a good Father. Your love and care is endless. You care more about my wellbeing that even I do, no matter how much I worry over it. And you are all powerful – able to protect me completely and fully from anything that might arise. Lord, I confess I forget these truths. I confess I am prone to believe that I am alone and without any protection. Lord, I know that this is a lie I tell myself, and it only works me up into worry and fear. I repent of that worry and fear now… ultimately, I know it stems from not trusting in Your goodness toward me. Help me believe and live out of the truth that you are always close, always protecting me, always watching over every step of my life. Thank you Lord for your great love for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

A Short Prayer for When You’re Afraid

God, you haven’t given me a spirit of fear. Come and replace my fear with your power and your love so I may have a sound mind to live each day glorifying you. Amen.

https://www.ibelieve.com/faith/a-prayer-for-when-you-re-overwhelmed-by-fear.html

Quote at the top from Michelle Obama

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“Anxiety increases in direct ratio and proportion as man departs from God. Everyone in the world has an anxiety complex because each of us has the capacity to be either a sinner or a saint.”

“Despair and anxiety are possible because there is a rational soul. They presuppose the capacity of self-reflection. Only a being capable of contemplating itself can dread annihilation in the face of the infinite, can despair either of itself or of its destiny.”

— Both quotes from “Peace of Soul,” Chapter 2, By Fulton J. Sheen, first published in 1949.

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The most often repeated instruction to man in the Holy Scripture is: “Do not be afraid.”

This little “anti-anxiety” prayer was a part of every Catholic Mass for centuries:
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Deliver us, Lord, from every evil,
and grant us peace in our day.
In your mercy keep us free from sin
and protect us from all anxiety
as we wait in joyful hope
for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
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Nada Te Turbe (Let nothing disturb you)
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Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.— St. Teresa of Avila

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Michelle Obama rejects Eric Holder’s ‘kicking’ Republicans remark — Time we talk about civility

October 12, 2018

Michelle Obama stuck to her positive political philosophy Thursday, rejecting ex-Attorney General Eric Holder’s remark that when Republicans “go low,” Democrats should “kick them.”

“Fear is not a proper motivator. Hope wins out. If you think about how you want your kids to be raised, how you want to think about life and their opportunities, do you want them afraid of their neighbors? Do you want them angry? Do you want them vengeful?” the former first lady said on the “Today” show.

“At this point, you have to think about what are the things you’re telling your girls. Which motto do you want them to live by?”

Holder had echoed Hillary Clinton’s comment earlier this week when she called for Democrats to reject civility when dealing with Republicans in the wake of the GOP’s own lack of civility.

“Michelle always says, ‘When they go low, we go high,’” Holder said Sunday at a campaign event in Georgia.

“No. When they go low, we kick them,” he added to applause.

Holder’s and Clinton’s remarks came after the fiercely partisan fight over President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who was confirmed despite accusations of sexual misconduct as a high school and college student.

Trump dismissed the allegations as a “hoax” cooked up by Democrats to derail his nominee, who adamantly denied the accusations.

He also mocked one accuser, California college professor Christine Blasey Ford, at one of his MAGA rallies.

Asked about the “#MeToo” movement, Michelle Obama said it showed what a “dangerous place” the world is for women and girls.

“I’m surprised at how much has changed, but how much has not changed. The world is a, sadly, dangerous place for women and girls,” she added.

“And I think young women are tired of it. They’re tired of being undervalued. They’re tired of being disregarded.”

Trump had also repeatedly lamented that American men accused of sexual assault were unfairly considered guilty until proven innocent, remarks indicative of what Obama said was a predictable backlash to the movement.

“That’s what happens with change. Change is not a direct, smooth path. There’s going to be bumps and resistance. There’s been a status quo in terms of the way women have been treated, what their expectations have been in this society, and that is changing,” she said.

“There’s going to be a little upheaval, a little discomfort, but I think it’s up to the women out there to say, ‘Sorry. Sorry that you feel uncomfortable, but I’m now paving the way for the next generation.’”

Trump, who in February 2016 urged supporters at a rally to “knock the crap out of” hecklers, condemned Holder’s remarks.

“He better be careful what he’s wishing for,” Trump told Fox News on Thursday. “That’s a disgusting statement for him to make.”

Holder served as attorney general under President Barack Obama from February 2009 to April 2015.

FILED UNDER         
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https://nypost.com/2018/10/11/michelle-obama-rejects-eric-holders-kicking-republicans-remark/
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Trump accuses Hillary Clinton of colluding with Russia as crowd chants ‘lock her up’

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/trump-accuses-hillary-clinton-colluding-russia-crowd-chants-lock-her-n918836

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Prayer and Meditation for Thursday, October 4, 2018 — Memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi

October 4, 2018

I am sending you like lambs among wolves

The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few

A detached man will see the uselessness and vanity of earthly pursuits for power, recognition, popularity.  He sees the stupidity of clinging to things and people and places.

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Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals;
and greet no one along the way.
Into whatever house you enter, first say,
‘Peace to this household.’
If a peaceful person lives there,
your peace will rest on him;
but if not, it will return to you.
Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you,
for the laborer deserves his payment.

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Meditation of St. Francis of Assisi 

Memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi
Lectionary: 458

Reading 1 JB 19:21-27

Job said:

Pity me, pity me, O you my friends,
for the hand of God has struck me!
Why do you hound me as though you were divine,
and insatiably prey upon me?

Oh, would that my words were written down!
Would that they were inscribed in a record:
That with an iron chisel and with lead
they were cut in the rock forever!
But as for me, I know that my Vindicator lives,
and that he will at last stand forth upon the dust;

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St Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy, c.1598
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Whom I myself shall see:
my own eyes, not another’s, shall behold him,
And from my flesh I shall see God;
my inmost being is consumed with longing.
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Responsorial Psalm PS 27:7-8A, 8B-9ABC, 13-14

R. (13) I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
Hear, O LORD, the sound of my call;
have pity on me, and answer me.
Of you my heart speaks; you my glance seeks.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
Your presence, O LORD, I seek.
Hide not your face from me;
do not in anger repel your servant.
You are my helper: cast me not off.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.

Alleluia MK 1:15

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Kingdom of God is at hand;
repent and believe in the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
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Pope Francis holds his General Weekly Audience in St. Peter’s Square on August 29, 2018, in Vatican City. Giulio Origlia/Getty Images
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Gospel LK 10:1-12

Jesus appointed seventy-two other disciples
whom he sent ahead of him in pairs
to every town and place he intended to visit.
He said to them,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.
Go on your way;
behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.
Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals;
and greet no one along the way.
Into whatever house you enter, first say,
‘Peace to this household.’
If a peaceful person lives there,
your peace will rest on him;
but if not, it will return to you.
Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you,
for the laborer deserves his payment.
Do not move about from one house to another.
Whatever town you enter and they welcome you,
eat what is set before you,
cure the sick in it and say to them,
‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.’
Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you,
go out into the streets and say,
‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet,
even that we shake off against you.’
Yet know this: the Kingdom of God is at hand.
I tell you,
it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day
than for that town.”
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Reflection by The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
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04 OCTOBER, 2018, Thursday, 26th Week, Ordinary Time

THE NEARNESS OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD

SCRIPTURE READINGS: [ JOB 19:21-27LK 10:1-12  ]

Very often, we hear people in their struggles to grow in their spiritual life remark that growing in spiritual life is very difficult, implying that it is impossible to experience the life of the kingdom of God on this earth.  If that were so, then today’s gospel message will make no sense at all.  For twice in today’s gospel, Jesus tells us that the Kingdom is very near.

The question we need to ask is, how near is ‘very near’?  I believe that very near means that the Kingdom is already here.  That is to say, it is within our reach. The fact is that these words were spoken to the disciples two thousand years ago, and we are still saying that it is ‘very near’ today.  Surely two thousand years cannot be said to be very near!  Thus, to say that the kingdom of God is ‘very near’, it must mean that it is already here, at hand, within our reach.   It therefore does not simply mean it is imminent, but that it is already here.  Indeed, the kingdom of God is already so near to us that we can easily overlook it, just like the way our eyes often overlook our nose.

The next question we need to ask then is, how do we know that the kingdom of God is here already?  The gospel gives us the answer.  The Kingdom is already here for those who live a life of detachment.  For this reason, Jesus sent His disciples out to preach the Good News, adopting a life-style of detachment.  He told them, “Do not carry a walking staff or travelling bad, wear no sandals”, etc.  In a nutshell, the disciples of Jesus had to learn to be detached from things, people and places.  Only a detached man can live in true freedom; and only real freedom can lead one to experience the kingdom of God.  Truly, the Kingdom man is one who understands the futility of the strivings and pursuits of life.  A detached man will see the uselessness and vanity of earthly pursuits for power, recognition, popularity.  He sees the stupidity of clinging to things and people and places.

The kingdom of God is also here for those who live a spirit of contentment.  In telling His disciples to be grateful and appreciative of whatever was offered to them when they entered a house, Jesus was telling them to be contented.  Man is miserable because he lives a life of discontent.  He is unhappy with himself.  He wants to be somebody else.  He is unhappy with his situation; he wants to be in another place.  He is discontented with his lot; he wants to have something else, etc.

Truly, a discontented man is an unhappy man.  The point is that if we are not happy where we are now, we can hardly be happy anywhere else.  If we are not happy with who we are, we cannot be happy with anybody nor with anyone else.  One cannot expect to experience the presence of the kingdom when one is choosy and always comparing.  Contentment is the key to interior peace within ourselves.  A contented person is non-egoistic nor grasping.  He is already happy within himself.  Therefore, he does not choose nor discriminate.  He takes whatever is given to him.  He is totally open to God and His providence.

To live a detached and contented life is simply to live in the present.  It is within this context that we can understand why Jesus insisted that His disciples must not hoard and be prepared for any contingency.  This is because Jesus wanted His disciples to live entirely for the moment and for the present.  But one can live entirely for the present only when one has nothing to hang on to in life except life itself.  So long as one lives in anxiety about the future, one cannot experience the kingdom of God.  When the mind hankers for the future, one cannot but miss the presence of the kingdom of God.

When a person is detached and contented, he becomes very free. Contentment brings real freedom to oneself.  Only when a person is truly contented with himself, can he stop hankering for popularity, acceptance and recognition.   A contented person is one who is simply himself.  He goes about doing his work, helping others without any expectations.  By living this kind of life, he sets others free as well.  Indeed, such a person does not impose even his goodness and his good news on others. He is so free that he allows others to be free as well.

Yes, the kingdom of God can only be for those who experience true freedom in his own life.  Once he experiences that freedom, he will no longer judge and discriminate.  How can a man be truly happy when he continues to judge others?  A mind that is always judging cannot be at rest and therefore be at peace.  Thus, Jesus in the gospel told His disciples that when they go out to preach the Good News, and if the message is rejected, they should simply leave the place.  There is no need to compel people to accept and believe what we say.  A man who cannot allow others freedom suggests that he is simply an insecure man.  Such a man finds no peace, and therefore lives outside the kingdom.

However, in order to live such a detached and contented life without discriminationwe must adopt a foundational attitude of trust and confidence in God’s providence.  We must learn to trust in God and surrender our lives to Him as Job did in the first reading, even in our darkest moments.  Like Job, we need to trust that God will stand by us and that all things will work out for our own good. It is this trust in God, in His love for us, that can deliver us from our insecurities, from living in the future, and from the compulsion of wanting to be accepted and loved and recognized by others.

A great man came to see a Zen master for enlightenment.  And the master told him these simple things.  And the man replied, “But all that you said, even a five-year old child knows about it.”  The master replied, “It is true that even a five-year old child knows about it; but not even an eighty-old man has done it.”  In other words, to know the way to the Kingdom does not equate with being in the Kingdom.  We must begin to live it.

That is why I say that the Kingdom is very near in the sense that it takes a moment of decision to allow the Kingdom into our lives.  The moment we decide to live a life of detachment, contentment, freedom and trust in God, the Kingdom is immediately available to us.  Hence, Jesus told His disciples that whichever house they entered, to say, “Peace upon this house”.  If this peace is accepted, then that household would find peace.  If not, the person would not find peace at all.   Consequently, entry to God’s kingdom is as near as a moment of decision.  That is why it is at hand, within our reach.  It is so near – any moment when we decide to live the way of the Kingdom, the Kingdom becomes ours.

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Written by The Most Rev William Goh Roman Catholic Archbishop of Singapore

Source http://www.catholic.sg/archbishop/scripture-reflection/

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Paperback Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence : Abandonment to Divine Providence Book

Book: Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence By J.P. de Caussade

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Living in The Distrustful and Embittered World of 2018

October 4, 2018

Finance, the media and a catastrophic breakdown in trust

From angry lynch mobs on social media to the fracturing of the western world’s political establishment, we are living in something entirely new — based upon the breakdown of trust.

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John Authers had a ringside seat on some of the most important financial stories of our time. Here’s what he learnt

By John Authers

Finance is all about trust. JP Morgan, patriarch of the banking dynasty, told Congress in the 1912 hearings that led to the foundation of the US Federal Reserve, that the first thing in credit was “character, before money or anything else.

Money cannot buy it.

“A man I do not trust could not get money from me on all the bonds in Christendom,” he added. “I think that is the fundamental basis of business.”

He was right. More than a century later, it is ever clearer that, without trust, finance collapses.

That is no less true now, when quadrillions change hands in electronic transactions across the globe, than it was when men such as Morgan dominated markets trading face to face. And that is a problem. Trust has broken down throughout society.

From angry lynch mobs on social media to the fracturing of the western world’s political establishment, this is an accepted fact of life, and it is not merely true of politics.

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Bank of England

Over the past three decades, trust in markets has evaporated. In 1990, when I started at the Financial Times, trust in financiers and the media who covered them was, if anything, excessive.

Readers were deferential towards the FT and, particularly, the stone-tablet certainties of the Lex column, which since the 1930s has dispensed magisterial and anonymous investment advice in finely chiselled 300-word notes.

Trainee bankers in the City of London were required to read Lex before arriving at the office. If we said it, it must be true. Audience engagement came in handwritten letters, often in green ink. Once, a reader pointed out a minor error and ended: “The FT cannot be wrong, can it?”

I phoned him and discovered this was not sarcasm.

The FT was and is exclusively produced by human beings, but it had not occurred to him that we were capable of making a mistake.

Back then, we made easy profits publishing page after page of almost illegible share price tables. One colleague had started in the 1960s as “Our Actuary” — his job was to calculate, using a slide rule, the value of the FTSE index after the market closed.

Then came democratisation.

As the 1990s progressed, the internet gave data away for free.

Anyone with money could participate in the financial world without relying on the old intermediaries. If Americans wanted to shift between funds or countries, new online “ fund supermarkets” sprung up to let them move their pension fund money as much as they liked.

Technology also broke the hold of bankers over finance, replacing it with the invisible hand of capital markets. No longer did banks’ lending officers decide on loans for businesses or mortgages; those decisions instead rested in the markets for mortgage-backed securities, corporate paper and junk bonds.

Meanwhile, banks were merged, deregulated and freed to re-form themselves. But the sense of democratisation did not last. The crises that rent the financial world in twain, from the dotcom bubble in 2000 through to the 2008 Lehman debacle and this decade’s eurozone sovereign debt crisis, ensured instead that trust broke down.

That collapse appears to me to be total: in financial institutions, in the markets and, most painfully for me, in the financial media. Once our word was accepted unquestioningly (which was unhealthy); now, information is suspect just because it comes from us, which is possibly even more unhealthy. To explain this, let me tell the story of the most contentious trip to the bank I have ever made.

Two days after Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy, in September 2008, I went on an anxious walk to my local bank branch. Working in New York, I had recently sold my flat in London and a large sum had just landed in my account at Citibank — far more than the insured limit, which at that point was $100,000. It did not seem very safe there.

Overnight, the Federal Reserve had spent $85bn to bail out the huge insurance company AIG, which had unwisely guaranteed much credit now sitting on banks’ books. Were AIG to go south, taking its guarantees with it, many banks would suddenly find themselves with worthless assets and become insolvent.

Meanwhile, a money market fund had “broken the buck”. Money market funds were treated like bank accounts by their clients. They switch money between very safe short-term bonds, trying to find higher rates than a deposit account can offer. Each share in the fund is worth $1, interest is distributed and the price cannot dip below $1.

As the funds did not pay premiums for deposit insurance, they could pay higher interest rates for no perceived extra risk. Thus there was outright panic when a large money market fund admitted that it held Lehman Brothers bonds, that its price must drop to 97 cents and that it was freezing access to the fund.

Across the US, investors rushed to pull their money out of almost anything with any risk attached to it, and poured it into the safest investments they could find — gold and very short-term US government debt (Treasury bills, or T-bills).

This was an old-fashioned bank run, but happening where the general public could not see it. Panic was only visible to those who understood the arcana of T-bill yields. The FT’s UK front page from September 18 2008 Our headline that day read “Panic grips credit markets” under a banner about the “banking crisis” in red letters.

There was no time to do anything complicated with my own money. Once I reached my lunch hour, I went to our local Citi branch, with a plan to take out half my money and put it into rival bank Chase, whose branch was next door. This would double the amount of money that was insured.

This is how I recounted what happened next, in a column for the FT last month: “We were in Midtown Manhattan, surrounded by investment banking offices. At Citi, I found a long queue, all well-dressed Wall Streeters. They were doing the same as me. Next door, Chase was also full of anxious-looking bankers. Once I reached the relationship officer, who was great, she told me that she and her opposite number at Chase had agreed a plan of action.

I need not open an account at another bank. Using bullet points, she asked if I was married and had children. Then she opened accounts for each of my children in trust and a joint account with my wife. In just a few minutes I had quadrupled my deposit insurance coverage. I was now exposed to Uncle Sam, not Citi. With a smile, she told me she had been doing this all morning. Neither she nor her friend at Chase had ever had requests to do this until that week.”

Ten years on, this is my most vivid memory of the crisis. The implications were clear: Wall Streeters, who understood what was going on, felt they had to shore up their money in insured deposits. The bank run in the trading rooms was becoming visible in the bank branches down below. In normal circumstances, the tale of the bank branch would have made an ideal anecdote with which to lead our coverage, perhaps with a photo of the queue of anxious bankers.

Low T-bill yields sound dry and lack visual appeal; what I had just seen looked like a bank run. (Although technically it was not — nobody I saw was taking out money.) But these were not normal circumstances, and I never seriously considered writing about it. Banks are fragile constructs.

By design, they have more money lent out than they keep to cover deposits. A self-fulfilling loss of confidence can force a bank out of business, even if it is perfectly well run. In a febrile environment, I thought an image of a Manhattan bank run would be alarmist.

I wrote a piece invoking a breakdown in trust between banks and described the atmosphere as “panic”, but did not mention the bank branch.

Ten years later, with the anniversary upon us, I thought it would be an interesting anecdote to dramatise the crisis.

In the distrustful and embittered world of 2018, the column about what I saw and why I chose not to write about it provoked a backlash that amazed me. Hundreds of responses poured in. Opinion was overwhelmingly against me. One email told me: “Your decision to save yourself while neglecting your readership is unforgivable and in the very nature of the elitist Cal Hockley of the Titanic scrambling for a lifeboat at the expense of others in need.”

One commenter on FT.com wrote: “This reads like Ford trying to explain why pardoning Nixon was the right thing to do.” “I have re-read the article, and the comments, a couple of times,” wrote another. “And I realised that it actually makes me want to vomit, as I realise what a divide there is between you and I, between the people of the establishment like yourself, and the ordinary schmucks like myself. The current system is literally sickening and was saved for those who have something to protect, at the expense of those who they are exploiting.”

Feedback carried on and on in this vein. How could we in the media ever be trusted if we did not tell the whole truth? Who were we to edit the facts and the truth that were presented?

Why were we covering up for our friends in the banks? Newspaper columns attacking me for my hypocrisy popped up across the world, from France to Singapore.  Dangerously for the future, the markets and their implicit judgments have been brought into the realm of politics I found the feedback astonishing and wrong-headed. But I am now beginning to grasp the threads of the problem. Most important is the death of belief in the media as an institution that edits and clarifies or chooses priorities.

Newspapers had to do this. There was only so much space in the paper each day. Editing was their greatest service to society. Much the same was true of nightly half-hour news broadcasts in pre-cable television. But now, the notion of self-censorship is alien and suspect. People expect “the whole truth”.

The idea of news organisations with long-standing cultures and staffed by trained professionals deciding what is best to publish appears bankrupt.

We are not trusted to do this, and not just because of politicians crying “fake news”. Rather, the rise of social media has redefined all other media. If the incident in the Citi branch were to happen today, someone would put a photo of it on Facebook and Twitter.

It might or might not go viral. But it would be out there, without context or explanation. The journalistic duty I felt to be responsible and not foment panic is now at an end. This is dangerous. Another issue is distrust of bankers. Nobody ever much liked “fat cats”, but this pickled into hatred as bankers avoided personal criminal punishment for their roles in the crisis.

Bank bailouts were, I still think, necessary to protect depositors. But they are now largely perceived merely as protecting bankers. My self-censorship seemed to be an effort to help my friends the bankers, not to shield depositors from a panic.

Then there is inequality.

In my column, I said that I “happened to have a lot of money in my account” but made no mention of selling my London flat. People assumed that if I had several hundred thousand dollars sitting in a bank account, I must be very rich. That, in many eyes, made my actions immoral.

Once I entered the FT website comments thread to explain where the money had come from, some thought this changed everything. It was “important information”. “In the article where moral questions [were] raised, the nature of the capital should have been explained better,” one commenter said.  The hidden premise was that if I were rich, I would not have been morally entitled to protect my money ahead of others lacking the information I was privy to. Bear in mind that to read this piece, it was necessary to subscribe to the FT.

Put these factors together, and you have a catastrophic breakdown in trust. How did we get here? The democratisation of finance in the 1990s was healthy. Transparency revealed excessive fees that slowly began to fall. For us at the FT, in many ways an entrenched monopoly, this meant lost advertising and new competition from cable TV, data providers and an array of online services.

But that democratisation was tragically mishandled and regulators let go of the reins far too easily. In 1999, as the Nasdaq index shot to the sky, the share prices of new online financial media groups such as thestreet.com shot up with them.

On US television, ads for online brokers showed fictional truck drivers apparently buying their own island with the proceeds of their earnings from trading on the internet. By 2000, when I spent time at business school, MBA students day-traded on their laptops in class, oblivious to what their professors were saying. Once that bubble burst, the pitfalls of rushed democratisation were painfully revealed.

Small savers had been sucked into the bubble at the top, and sustained bad losses.  Trust then died with the credit crisis of 2008 and its aftermath. The sheer injustice of the ensuing government cuts and mass layoffs, which deepened inequality and left many behind while leaving perpetrators unpunished, ensured this. The public also lost their trust in journalists as their guides in dealing with this. We were held to have failed to warn the public of the impending crisis in 2008.

I think this is unfair; the FT and many other outlets were loudly sceptical and had been giving the problems of US subprime lenders blanket coverage for two years before Lehman Brothers went down. In the earlier dotcom bubble, however, I think the media has more of a case to answer — that boom was lucrative for us and many were too credulous, helping the bubble to inflate.

Further, new media robbed journalists of our mystique. In 1990, readers had no idea what we looked like. Much of the FT, including all its stock market coverage, was written anonymously.

The only venue for our work was on paper and the only way to respond (apart from the very motivated, who used the telephone) was also on paper. The rule of thumb was that for every letter we received, at least another hundred readers felt the same way. Now, almost everything in the paper that expresses an opinion carries a photo. Once my photo appeared above my name on the old Short View column, my feedback multiplied maybe fivefold.

The buzzword was to be “multimodal”, regaling readers with the same ideas in multiple formats. In 2007 we started producing video. My readers became my viewers, watching me speak to them on screen every day, and my feedback jumped again.

Answering emails from readers took over my mornings. Often these would start “Dear John”, or even just “John”, as though from people who knew me. So much for our old mystique. By 2010, social media was a fact of life.

Writing on Twitter, journalists’ social network of choice, became part of the job. People expected us to interact with them. This sounds good. We were transparent and interactive in a way we had not been before. But it became part of my job to get into arguments with strangers, who stayed anonymous, in a 140-character medium that made the expression of any nuance impossible.

Meanwhile, the FT hosted social media of its own.

Audience engagement became a buzzword. If readers commented, we talked back. Starting in 2012, I started debating with readers and I learnt a lot. FT readers are often specialists, and they helped me understand some arcane subject matter. Once, an intense discussion with well over a hundred entries on the subject of cyclically adjusted price/earnings multiples (don’t ask) yielded all the research I needed to write a long feature.

Now, following Twitter, comments below the line are degenerating into a cesspit of anger and disinformation. Where once I debated with specialists, now I referee nasty political arguments or take the abuse myself. The status of the FT and its competitors in the financial media as institutions entrusted with the task of giving people a sound version of the truth now appears, to many, to be totally out of date.

Even more dangerously for the future, the markets and their implicit judgments have been brought into the realm of politics (and not just by President Trump). This was not true even 20 years ago; when Al Gore faced off against George W Bush in 2000, only months after the dotcom bubble burst, neither candidate made much of an issue of it.

But now, following Lehman, people understand that decisions made in capital markets matter. That makes markets part of the political battlefield; not just how to interpret them, but even the actual market numbers are now open to question. Brexit rammed this home to me. During the 2016 referendum campaign, Remainers argued that voting to leave would mean a disastrous hit for sterling.

This was not exactly Project Fear; whether or not you thought Brexit was a good idea, it was obvious that it would initially weaken the pound. A weaker currency can be good news — the pound’s humiliating exit from the EU’s exchange rate mechanism in 1992, for example, set the scene for an economic boom throughout the late 1990s.

But reporting on the pound on the night of the referendum was a new and different experience. Sitting in New York as the results came in through the British night, I had to write comments and make videos, while trying to master my emotions about the huge decision that my home country had just taken.

Sterling fell more than 10 per cent against the dollar in a matter of minutes — more than double its previous greatest fall in the many decades that it had been allowed to float, bringing it to its lowest level in more than three decades. Remarkably, that reaction by foreign exchange traders has stood up; after two more years of political drama, the pound has wavered but more than two years later remains slightly below the level at which it settled on referendum night.

As I left, at 1am in New York, with London waking up for the new day, I tweeted a chart of daily moves in sterling since 1970, showing that the night’s fall dwarfed anything previously seen. It went viral, which was not surprising. But the nature of the response was amazing. It was a factual chart with a neutral accompanying message. It was treated as a dubious claim.

“LOL got that wrong didn’t you . . . oops!” (There was nothing wrong with it.) “Pretty sure it was like that last month. Scaremongering again.” (No, it was a statement of fact and nothing like this had happened ever, let alone the previous month.)

“Scaremongering. Project Fear talking us down. This is nothing to do with Brexit, it’s to do with the PM cowardice resignation.” (I had made the tweet a matter of hours before David Cameron resigned.) The reaction showed a willingness to doubt empirical facts. Many also felt that the markets themselves were being political and not just trying to put money where it would make the greatest return. “Bankers punish Britons for their audacity in believing they should have political control of their own country.” (Forex traders in the US and Asia were probably not thinking about this.)

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David Cameron announcing his resignation as PM following the Brexit vote in June 2016

“It will recover, this is what uncertainty does. Also the rich bitter people upset about Brexit.” (Rich and bitter people were unlikely to make trades that they thought would make them poorer, and most of that night’s trading was by foreigners more dispassionate than Britons could be at that point.) So it continued for days.

Thanks to the sell-off in sterling, the UK stock market did not perform that badly (unless you compared it with others, which showed that its performance was lousy). Whether the market really disliked the Brexit vote became a topic of hot debate, which it has remained — even as the market verdict, that Brexit is very bad news if not a disaster, becomes ever clearer.

After Brexit, of course, came Trump. The US president takes the stock market as a gauge of his performance, and any upward move as a political endorsement — while his followers treat any fall, or any prediction of a fall by pundits such as me, as a political attack. The decade in which central banks have bought assets in an open attempt to move markets plays into the narrative that markets are political creations. This is the toxic loss of trust that now vitiates finance. Once lost, trust is very hard to retrieve, which is alarming.

It is also not clear what the financial media can do about it, beyond redoubling our efforts to do a good job. All the most obvious policy responses come with dangers. Regulating social media from its current sick and ugly state would have advantages but would also be the thin end of a very long wedge.

Greater transparency and political oversight for central banks might rebuild confidence but at the risk of politicising institutions we desperately need to maintain independence from politicians.

And an overhaul of the prosecutorial system for white-collar crime, to avert the scandalous way so many miscreants escaped a reckoning a decade ago, might work wonders for bolstering public trust — but not if it led to scapegoating or show trials. On one thing, I remain gloomily clear.

Without trust in financial institutions themselves, or those who work in them, or the media who cover them, the next crisis could be far more deadly than the last.

Just ask JP Morgan.

John Authers was an FT journalist for almost 30 years, most recently as chief markets commentator

Follow @FTMag on Twitter to find out about our latest stories first. Subscribe to FT Life on YouTube for the latest FT Weekend videos

https://www.ft.com/content/b739c370-c698-11e8-ba8f-ee390057b8c9

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Morning Prayer for Wednesday, October 3, 2018 — God, Help Me in The Development of Personal Character

October 3, 2018

In our unseemly world, help me to constantly strive to improve my personal character. Make me a gift to you, my family and others around me. Help me to exhibit the dignity of man as you have set down for us through honesty, thoughtfulness, service to others, prayer and right conduct. Keep me from the temptations so common in our society today: greed, sloth, resentments, anger, envy, self-righteousness and the many other character flaws. Keep my tongue restrained and true. We ask this of you O God.

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How do I talk with others? Am I always trying to dominate the conversation? Do I lay down the law and tell others what to think
and do? Do I judge them privately and feel that they have small chance of success? Do I belittle others to myself? Or am I
willing to bare my soul so as help others? And, then, am I willing to be a good listener,not interrupting, but hearing them out
to the end? Do I feel deeply that they are my brothers or my sisters? Will I do all I can to help others along the path to a better
life?

Meditation For The Day

“The work of righteousness shall be peace and the effect of righteousness shall be quietness and assurance forever.” Only
when the soul attains this calm, can there be true spiritual work done, and mind and soul and body be strong to conquer
and bear all things. Peace is the result of righteousness and living in God’s path. There is no peace in wrong doing, but if
we live the way God wants us to live, quietness and assurance follow. Assurance is that calmness born of a deep certainty
of God’s strength available to us and in His power to love and guard us from all harm and wrong doing.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may attain a state of true calmness.
I pray that I may live in quietness and peace.

Adapted from “Twenty Four Hours a Day”

Morning Prayer for Monday, October 1, 2018 — “Help us to bear the unbearable”

October 1, 2018

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Today we pray for sexual abuse victims, people trapped by war, poverty, tsunami, earthquakes; people afflicted by drug addiction and alcoholism and cancer and all other painful diseases — and people trapped in deadly man-made and natural disasters.

Our Lord, we offer this prayer to stem the tide of despair and depression for those who have in their mind that there is no way out:

“Dear God, help us to bear the unbearable that we cannot even understand. Give us solace in our suffering and pain. Help us all to recover quickly into the hope of a better world by your everlasting care. Reach out to all those who have lost hope or are in danger of losing hope this day. Give them all that they need to bear the unbearable until they see the sunshine again. Amen.”

South Vietnamese mothers sheltering with their children beside an American paratrooper during a battle against Viet Cong in swampland 20 miles west of Saigon

Related:

Photo at the top: Man carries dead child in tsunami aftermath in Indonesia. The child was killed in the tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. A powerful earthquake rocked the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on Friday, triggering a 3-meter-tall (10-foot-tall) tsunami that an official said swept away houses in at least two cities. (Photo by RIFKI / AP)

Morning Prayer for Friday, September 28, 2018 — Acceptance is the answer to all of my problems today

September 28, 2018

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We need to accept the difficulties and disciplines of life so as to fully share the common life of other people. Many things that we must accept in life are not to be taken so much as being necessary for us personally, as to be experienced in order that we may share in the sufferings and problems of humanity. We need sympathy and understanding. We must share many of the experiences of life, in order to understand and sympathize with others. Unless we have been through the same experiences, we cannot understand other people or their makeup well enough to be able to help them.

Acceptance is the answer to all of my problems today

 

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may accept everything that comes my way as a part of life. I pray that I may make use of it in helping other people.

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From The Most Rev William Goh, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Singapore

28 SEPTEMBER, 2018, Friday, 25th Week, Ordinary Time

GOD IS IN CHARGE

SCRIPTURE READINGS: [ ECCLESIASTES 3:1-11LUKE 9:18-22  ]

Like King Solomon, the author of Ecclesiastes, the preacher to the assembly of God, we find life a bewilderment and a mystery.  When we look at the world today, we cannot but be apprehensive about how society and life are changing.  Since the foundation of the world, no one has ever questioned the sexual identity of human beings as male and female.  No one had ever thought that marriage could be between two men or two women.  Now the world wants us to believe that there is an X gender as well.  Indeed, the foundations of society, founded on the bedrock of marriage and the family as we know it, are breaking down.

Not only that, the values of the different generations are also changing.  Those from the Pioneer and Merdeka generations came from very poor backgrounds. Through sheer hard work they built up Singapore to what it is today.  They valued hard work, sacrifice (for their children and future generations), fidelity in marriage and family.   The Y and Millennial generations were born at a time when Singapore had already achieved affluence.  They are raised by parents who are well educated, attend the best schools, everything is provided for, including domestic servants at their disposal, multiple holidays in a year, etc. Finance is not an issue.  All they want is meaning, purpose and fulfillment in life.  Born in the digital and technological age, they are technologically savvy and au fait with mass and social media.  Their world no longer comprises their little community or village or even the country, but the entire world.  Hence, they are very much more influenced by the values of the world than their own cultural values.

When we look at world events, we find that history is ever-changing.  Life remains a mystery.  Every age or era has to deal with the vicissitudes of life, the ups and downs, the rise and fall of empires, corporations and religions. Whether it is politics, culture or religion, we cannot escape the inevitable changing situation.  Even the Church has gone from a minority to a majority and now on its way to becoming a minority again.  The Church has had her fair share of glory, scandals, purification and renewal.  The truth is that we are not in control.  This is what Solomon was teaching his people.  Indeed, there is a time for everything, whether it is giving birth or dying, planting or uprooting, building or knocking down, tears or laughter, throwing or gathering, war or peace. 

We cannot truly control the events of history and our own.  But the world’s humanists think otherwise. They believe that reason, science and technology can change the world.  Perhaps, they can raise the standard of living and make the world a more luxurious place to live in, but technology cannot change the evil and selfish hearts of people.  It is in the heart that happiness, peace, joy and love are found; not in things, no matter how much we have of them.  In fact, because technology is blind, when used by people without wisdom, it has the power to destroy humanity, the family and the entire human race and the planet as well.

We must in humble adoration just surrender to God. As the author of Ecclesiastes reflected, “I contemplate the task that God gives mankind to labour at.  All that he does is apt for its time; but though he has permitted man to consider time in its wholeness, man cannot comprehend the work of God from beginning to end.”  St Paul also surrendered himself to God’s wisdom and plans. “O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him, to receive a gift in return?’  For from him and through him and to him are all things. Amen. (Rom 11:33-36)

This does not mean that we should cop out of the world.  Rather, we are called to cooperate with His divine plans for humanity, doing what we can and leaving the rest to Him.  We should not seek to take control of the world, of the destiny of our children and of society.  We should not be too disappointed because things are not going the way we think they should.  There is this deep desire in us to control and make things happen according to our ways.  However, the truth is that the wisdom and plan of God is beyond human grasping.  Isaiah says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  (Isa 55:8f)

The gospel clearly reiterates this truth.  After the profession of faith in Christ as the “Christ of God”, the Lord instructed the disciples, giving them “strict orders not to tell anyone anything about this.  ‘The Son of Man’ he said ‘is destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes and to be put to death, and to be raised up on the third day.’”  Why did Jesus forbid the apostles to reveal to others that He was the Christ of God?  This was because the Jews believed that the Messiah to come was a political and revolutionary messiah.  He would deliver the people their enemies, especially the Romans, in a triumphant and victorious battle.

Again, Jesus shattered their vain speculation on how the Messiah could establish the Kingdom of God.  He spoke of His imminent suffering, rejection, death and resurrection.  He repeated this twice to them saying, “‘Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands.’  But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was concealed from them, so that they could not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying.”  (Lk 9:44f)  The way of God is through the suffering and death of His Son.  By dying, Jesus conquered hatred with love of sinners, death with life.  In putting death to death, we too have conquered the fear of death and we look forward to eternal life.  Jesus surrendered His life to the Father in faith at the cross, trusting that somehow the Father would bring His mission to fruition not in His way but in God’s way.

Indeed, the way to life, as Jesus tells us, is to carry our own cross daily.   Following the passion prophecy, the Lord invited His disciples to follow Him accordingly.  He said, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.” In other words, as the Preacher tells us, we simply have to do what we can, each in our own way.   We just do our best. We do not withdraw from life by giving up on the world or on God but we continue to do our part in making this world a better place according to our means and ability, leaving the rest to God, for He is in charge.

However, for this to happen, we must first confess in Christ as the Son of God. Unless our faith is founded on Christ, we will not have the courage to surrender in faith to God’s wisdom and divine providence.  If we could say with Peter that He is the Christ, then with the psalmist, we can confess confidently that God is our rock.  “Blessed be the Lord, my rock.  He is my love, my fortress; he is my stronghold, my saviour my shield, my place of refuge. Lord, what is man that you care for him, mortal man, that you keep him in mind; man, who is merely a breath whose life fades like a passing shadow?”  With God on our side, then we should not fear even when all odds are against us.  “Though the fig tree does not blossom, and no fruit is on the vines; though the produce of the olive fails, and the fields yield no food; though the flock is cut off from the fold, and there is no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the God of my salvation.”  (Habakkuk 3:17f)

Written by The Most Rev William Goh, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Singapore
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Morning Prayer for Monday, September 24, 2018 — True Faith Requires Our Complete Surrender

September 24, 2018

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“Lord, to whom shall we go but to Thee? Thou hast the words of eternal life.” The words of eternal life are the words from God controlling your true being, controlling the real spiritual you. They are the words from God, which are heard by you in your heart and mind when these are wide open to His spirit. These are the words of eternal life, which express the true way you are to live. They say to you in the stillness of your heart and mind and soul: “Do this and live.”

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may follow the dictates of my conscience. I pray that I may follow the inner urging of my soul.

— From the Book “Twenty Four Hours a Day”

“Half measures availed us nothing.”

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St. John tells us: After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him. Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:67-68). Peter, at that moment, declared to Jesus what the Church would continue to say until the end of time. Jesus’ words truly are life and by not trusting His word, we cannot trust Him. True faith demands that we do not go half-way. True faith in Jesus Christ demands our entire surrender.

Source:https://orthodoxcatholicism.com/2013/03/30/lord-to-whom-shall-we-go/

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Prayer and Meditation Aid Mental Health — Afternoon Prayer for Tuesday, September 18, 2018

September 18, 2018

“Anxiety increases in direct ratio and proportion as man departs from God. Everyone in the world has an anxiety complex because each of us has the capacity to be either a sinner or a saint.”

“Despair and anxiety are possible because there is a rational soul. They presuppose the capacity of self-reflection. Only a being capable of contemplating itself can dread annihilation in the face of the infinite, can despair either of itself or of its destiny.”

— Both quotes from “Peace of Soul,” Chapter 2, By Fulton J. Sheen, first published in 1949.

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The most often repeated instruction to man in the Holy Scripture is: “Do not be afraid.”

This little “anti-anxiety” prayer was a part of every Catholic Mass for centuries:
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Deliver us, Lord, from every evil,
and grant us peace in our day.
In your mercy keep us free from sin
and protect us from all anxiety
as we wait in joyful hope
for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
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Nada Te Turbe (Let nothing disturb you)
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Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

— St. Teresa of Avila

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Raising Kids With Religion Or Spirituality May Protect Their Mental Health: Study

A new study from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health finds that kids and teens who are raised with religious or spiritual practices tend to have better health and mental health as they age. But not to worry if you’re not a service-attender. The research, published last week in the American Journal of Epidemiology, finds that people who prayed or meditated on their own time also reaped similar benefits, including lower risk of substance abuse and depression later on.

The team looked at data from 5,000 people taking part in the long-term Nurses’ Health Study II and its next generation Growing Up Today Study (GUTS). They were interested in whether the frequency with which a child/teen attended religious services with their parents or prayed/meditated on their own was correlated with their health and mental health as they grew into their 20s. The young people were followed for anywhere from eight to 14 years.

It turned out that those who attended religious services at least once a week as children or teens were about 18% more likely to report being happier in their 20s than those who never attended services. They were also almost 30% more likely to do volunteer work and 33% less likely to use drugs in their 20s as well.

But what was interesting was that it wasn’t just about how much a person went to services, but it was at least as much about how much they prayed or meditated in their own time. Those who prayed or meditated every day also had more life satisfaction, were better able to process emotions, and were more forgiving compared to those who never prayed/meditated. They were also less likely to have sex at an earlier age and to have a sexually transmitted infection.

“These findings are important for both our understanding of health and our understanding of parenting practices,” said study author Ying Chen. “Many children are raised religiously, and our study shows that this can powerfully affect their health behaviors, mental health, and overall happiness and well-being.”

Previous studies have suggested similar connections—for instance, that people who are more religious are often happier, and that people who believe in something greater than themselves are more resilient to stress. Other work has shown that in meditation and in prayer, the “me” centers of the brain—those that are active when you’re thinking self-referential worry-based thoughts—quiet down, and areas involved in perceiving the external world as “other” also deactivate. This might suggest that at least one way in which religion/spirituality benefits mental health is to reduce our tendency to think about ourselves and at the same time dissolve our sense of separateness.

And as most people know, there’s also a huge body of research showing what meditation itself does for the brain and for mental health, from reducing symptoms of depression to increasing attention and creativity. Additionally, other research has shown that experiencing awe, spending time in nature, and spending time in silence are all linked to greater happiness and well-being, through mechanisms that are very likely related to those in the current study.

One drawback of the new study was that although it tried to control for socioeconomic status and other confounding variables, most people in the study were white, female, and of higher socioeconomic status. The study would need to be repeated in a more diverse population to see whether the phenomenon holds for other demographics.

In the meantime, the research definitely hints that we might want to take a little time to meditate or pray, whatever that might look like for you. Even if you’re not religious in the classic sense, just observing something bigger than you—perhaps nature or the night sky—might tap into the same mechanism. Like many other studies, the new one also suggests that some of the fundamental habits that humans have been doing for eons (praying, meditating) might actually have a lot more value than we tend to think.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2018/09/17/raising-kids-with-religion-or-spirituality-may-protect-their-mental-health-study/#a6cdc7232874

The Loss of Our Interior Peace Is Disastrous Because In Peace, God Accomplishes Great Things

September 16, 2018

One of the most common strategies of the devil in his efforts to distance us from God and to slow our spiritual progress is to attempt to cause the loss of our interior peace.

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Here is what Dom Lorenzo Scupoli, one of the great spiritual masters of the 16th century [and author of The Spiritual Combat], who was highly esteemed by Saint Francis de Sales [author of Introduction to the Devout Life], said; “The devil does his utmost to banish peace from one’s heart, because he knows that God abides in peace and it is in peace that he accomplished great things.”

It would be well to keep this in mind, because, quite often in the daily unfolding of our Christian life it happens that we fight the wrong battle, if one may put it that way, because we orient our efforts in the wrong direction. We fight on a terrain where the devil subtly drags us and can vanquish us, instead of fighting on the real battlefield, where on the contrary, by the grace of God, we are always certain of victory.  And this is one of the great secrets of spiritual combat — to avoid fighting the wrong battle, to know how to discern, despite the ruses of our adversary, which is the real battlefield, what we truly have to struggle against and where we must place our efforts….

Related:

 (More from Jacques Philippe)

See also:

Searching for and Maintaining Peace by Fr. Jacques Philippe

Source:https://richardconlin.wordpress.com/2013/09/01/searching-for-maintaining-peace-by-fr-jacques-philippe/