The Cardinal Virtues // Prudence

Dear God into your hands I place my life, that every decision I make there will be wisdom, intelligence and prudence, that I may always do your will instead of mine Amen

Prudence will watch over you; and understanding will guard you Proverbs 2:11

Prudence means exercising good judgment or common sense. It means knowing the right thing to do. It means not saying everything that comes to mind. In this age of technology, it is so common to vent on social media, or engage in arguments, or hide behind the keyboard and say things that normally wouldn’t be said in face-to- face conversation, or to gossip about others.

Fr. Mike Schmitz of Ascension Press cautions against this and calls it “everyday betrayal.” Sometimes we need to process things and talk about it with someone, and this is where prudence comes in. Prudence helps to only “talk to the right people about the right thing to accomplish the right end.” It requires discretion – not bringing anyone else and his or her flaws or problems into what you need help with.

It requires prudence to know what to share and what not to share. Words are incredibly powerful. They have the power to make or break relationships. St Paul says in Ephesians Chapter 4: “No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edifications, that it may impart grace to those who fear.” Next time you feel the urge to vent on social media, ask yourself if what you are about to say is prudent and discrete. Scroll past the thread that you don’t agree with, instead of starting or contributing to an argument.

Put your phone or computer away for a little while until your mood has lifted; instead, pray to St Dymphna for prudence and strength. “You were marked in life, St. Dymphna, by a high degree of prudence. You sought and followed the advice of your confessor and spiritual guide. You fled from temptation even when it meant exile and poverty. In your last extremity you chose to die rather than offend God. Please help us now by your merits not only to know what is right, but procure for us also the strength to do it. Amen.”

To Jesus Through Mary - Adrianna Tucker