We live in a time where it’s difficult to know how to respond to various situations. Evil often seems to be moving un-opposed. What is a Christian to do? How should he respond?
Without prudence, we can end up on the “extremes” in our response. On one end we can “throw up our hands”, give up, and turn on the “3 Stooges TV Marathon”; on the other hand, we can get a huge sign, buy a big megaphone, and sit in the middle of the New Jersey Turnpike protesting all the craziness. Hmmmmmm. To have peace, to be effective, to do God’s will, we need the virtue of prudence.
Judy and I are in the midst of going thru the “30 Day Consecration To St. Joseph” by Fr. Donald Calloway. One of his many attributes is “Joseph, Most Prudent”.
Prudence is a misunderstood virtue, sometimes confused with “timidity, looking to avoid suffering, hardship, or difficulty”. Yet, St. Thomas Aquinas calls it the “principal of all the virtues”. The Catechism calls prudence the “charioteer of the virtues …. the virtue of kings and rulers. Without prudence, no leader can exercise temperance, justice, and fortitude”. Without prudence we easily end up on the extremes of every issue….. being too lenient or too harsh.
Joseph prayed and waited for God to reveal the proper reaction when confronted with “Mary’s pregnancy, the flight into Egypt, the finding of Jesus, and much more”. He didn’t choose the rash response or the timid response. He didn’t choose the path of least suffering or inconvenience…he chose God’s will revealed to him thru prayer. He is a wonderful model for us in the 21st century…. pray to know God’s will and pray for the courage and wisdom to carry it out.
So, if we embrace the virtue of prudence, we will be peaceful. If we allow prudence to guide the other virtues by “setting rule and measure”, than we can actually be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Lord, increase in us the great virtue of prudence.. the “charioteer of the virtues”. St. Joseph pray for us.