Prudence, Prayer, Patience....
"I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion” (Proverbs 8:12).
Prudence is a cardinal virtue that enables correct knowledge of things to be done and of things to avoid. It helps us recognize in all situations what is good and evil and empowers a person to acquire suitable means to avoid wrongdoing. In all actions, we should carefully pursue counsel, and use the basis of evidence before making any judgment. This virtue is acquired naturally through our intellect and is infused with sanctifying grace conferred by God.
How often do we consider the consequences of our actions or the outcome of our earthly life? How can we begin a discussion about the need for prudence in our society? I believe we start with prayer! The next step is conversation with discretion and love. Jesus was the master of parables, and hypocrites became confused by His practicality. He understood that many people had no interest in His message and that parables were only effective to those who genuinely hungered for God.
Jesus spoke everyday language with authority in a message that was hard to ignore. Sounds simple enough, but in today’s political environment having productive conversation can be problematic! The current moral issues in our culture make separating religion and politics impossible! But, there is hope in the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance. They were first recognized in the Old Testament. Plato discussed them in the Republic before his disciple Aristotle introduced them to Christian teaching.
Bishop Robert Barron has a book titled “Arguing Religion.” He believes we are not engaging in the conversation of religion with reason or productive conclusion often enough. Avoiding dialogue is not the answer when trying to build up the Kingdom of God. We are plagued with two extremes, violently imposing our views, or mildly tolerating the views of others. Bishop Barron said, “It is a prejudice to say that religion is irrational, or to believe that people of ‘faith’ accept things on the basis of no evidence.” It has become socially acceptable to privatize our own convictions, yet avoid meaningful conversation. It is ok to say, “No, I think what you are saying is wrong.” Love is to will the good of another person with intelligent and logical conversation about truth.
I do believe there are situations where it is better to love than to be right! This is where the gift of prudence helps you discern! Please don’t focus on hateful political rhetoric that robs our joy every day. Instead, take time in prayer for an end to the offenses against God in our society. Thomas à Kempis wrote: “In this mortal life, our peace consists in the humble bearing of suffering and contradiction, not in being free of them, for we cannot live in this world without adversity. Those who can best suffer will enjoy the most peace, for such persons are masters of themselves, lords of the world, with Christ for their friend, and heaven as their reward.”
Let Christ be your best friend, and prudence will find a home in your heart! Amen!