Growing in Prudence

Prudence is the mother of all the virtues. Prudence allows us to recognize our moral duty to act with goodness and right discernment in situations that confront us and allows us to choose the right way to make that happen.

Prudence requires a formed conscience, so that we can know God’s truth and then act in accord with it.

What is prudence?

“Prudence is the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it.” –CCC 1806

Living with prudence

Dr. Edward Sri calls prudence “the virtue that most immediately helps us live our lives on target.” Prudence helps us apply reason and practical wisdom to our everyday actions and decisions, big or small. Through counsel, judgment, and decisiveness, we come to make prudent choices that help steer our lives in the right direction.

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.

Three ideas to help you practice prudence

  1. Seek counsel. Before making a big decision, practice seeking the advice from wise, faithful people in your life, like a priest and other devout friends of yours.
  2. Make a judgment. Prudence involves weighing options when you are faced with a decision. Pray for discernment to make a proper judgment on the best course of action.
  3. Be decisive. It can be difficult to practice prudence when you are always flip-flopping your decisions. Discern the best choice or course of action for you, and then follow through. Be decisive.

What do the experts say?

“Blessed the one…who is not anxious to speak, but who reflects prudently on what he is to say and the manner in which he is to reply.” –St. Francis of Assisi

“I, wisdom, dwell in prudence.” –Proverbs 8:12

“The wisdom of a prudent man is to discern his way, but the folly of fools is deceiving.” –Proverbs 14:8