Prudence is an old fashioned word.
I suspect most people compare it to the term “prude.” And that’s definitely not “cool” in today’s modern times. Nor is it a fair representation of prudence.
Prudence is a name given to some … though not very many people lately.
You can see in this graph the number of people named Prudence in the US has declined steadily since the 1800s despite a couple of spikes.
The Beatles wrote a beautiful song for Mia Farrow’s sister, Prudence, called “Dear Prudence.”
But that was back in 1968.
You just don’t hear the word prudence much these days.
And yet, it’s one of the most important virtues of Catholicism.
All the other virtues hinge on it. So it’s one that we should get right.
If we want to get to heaven anyway. You’d think there would be more chatter about something so critical to becoming a saint.
This week’s issue of Genuflect brings prudence to the present … to remind us what it really is … and is not, why it’s important for us, how to be more prudent, and prayers for prudence.
So we can be sure we are practicing prudence today … as if our future depends on it.
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Prudence is the first of the cardinal virtues because it is the ability to look at a concrete situation and know what ought to be done. It is the ability to make right judgments. Prudence gives us the knowledge of what must be done, when it must be done, and how it must be done. Here’s how it works, the three parts of a prudent act, and some practical guidelines.
Since prudence is not a choice, but rather something that governs our choices, it is a more difficult virtue to acquire. Still, it isn’t impossible, and here are at least three ways to become more prudent.
One interesting thing about Prudence is that it can be thought of as threefold: False Prudence, True Prudence and True and Perfect Prudence. Here’s the difference between them.
As humans, we make bad decisions, which often result in actions that jeopardize the salvation of our souls. Fortunately, we can minimize the harmful outcomes of our decisions by paying closer attention to our actions. They, however, need to be regulated by virtue; not by feelings, emotions, and instinct. They need to be regulated by the virtue of prudence. In order to properly apply prudence to our daily lives, we need to include all of its eight integral parts.
When we regret a decision, find ourselves in a sticky situation that was quite avoidable, or just sense our lives are not heading in the right direction, it is often because this foundational cardinal virtue was not at the forefront of our actions. There are three key aspects of prudence: counsel, judgment, and decisiveness. Each of these is necessary, but in this reflection, we focus on the first step for prudence: counsel.
St. Francis de Sales was a spiritual giant during the 17th century and wrote one of the most well-known spiritual classics of all time, called Introduction to the Devout Life. Here are five powerful quotes from this profound book, where de Sales details what is needed to practice virtue.
Too many of us get in the bad habit of making decisions without considering God’s laws, our eternal judgment, and our heavenly happiness. When we ignore prudence, we can more easily opt for sin and fail to see and make decisions that will bring us more perfect joy and in closer relationship with God. Here are three ideas to help you practice prudence.
Knowing that a human being is made in the image and likeness of God tells us what we need to know about what a human being is. From that knowledge we can move to asking what a human being should do. Rich or poor, it doesn’t matter–we are called to love as Jesus loves.
It is popular for parenting magazines to publish articles with advice from child psychologists about how to raise independent kids. What these psychologists actually seem to be advising is “prudence.”
Here is a prayer to the Holy Spirit for His guidance in making prudent decisions that are pleasing to Him.
A Prudent Download
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