I’ve been reading Michael Lewis’, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt with the hopes of getting a better understanding of the financial world. It’s not working. It’s an enjoyable read about high frequency trading with many colorful characters, some of whom were as ignorant of Wall Street trading as I am. Ronan Ryan is an example. Lewis writes, “he didn’t pretend to know what happened on a trading floor. ‘He had questions that were unbelievably rudimentary….he didn’t know what ‘bid’ and ‘offer’ was. He didn’t know what it meant to ‘cross the spread’.” But it’s also the story of these guys who recognize that the whole stock market is rigged.
It’s a completely different, fast-paced world all in the pursuit of money and power. We commemorate today in the church’s calendar St. Stephan of Dechani, a saint who was also a ruler, a king – one who had both money and power. He is one of many Saints from Serbian history that left the power of the earthly throne to dedicate themselves to God.
In a homily Bishop Fotije of Dalmatia once said, “Today the word “rich” (“bogat” in Serbian; “Bog” means God) is understood in the completely materialistic sense of the word, and is exclusively connected with those who have many material goods, but it’s true meaning is is different and much deeper. As etymology teaches us, richness is , in fact, our union with God and rich is the man who has the Lord. In contrast, richness understood from the ordinary, worldly perspective usually distances the person who is rich from God, for it entices him with the apparent sparkle and the feeling of power. In order to avoid such temptations we must nurture our communion with the Lord, and we will achieve this in the best way through prayer and holy communion. Throughout history, and in our day, there were people who did not possess much or anything, but they reached a level of spiritual cleanliness through which they received the wealth of the Holy Spirit. “