THE RIGHT REASON OF THINGS TO BE DONE
In other words the way you should act in particular actions is guided by Prudence.
Prudence helps to guide us to the right end or destination of our actions, therefore an imprudent man will never get to his end because he always go the wrong way, so it is like a road atlas for our actions.
But what would be the most imprudent thing to do? Answer, it must be of course to lose our soul, or do anything which would lead us to lose it.
TO BE PRUDENT YOU NEED TO BE SMART = TO BE SMART YOU NEED TO THINK SO IT HELPS TO THINK BEFORE YOU DO SOMETHING YOU ARE NOT SURE ABOUT.
BUT THIS DOING IS ABOUT EVERYDAY ACTIONS REAL PRACTICAL THINGS, NOT JUST THEORY!!
So if you see the right way of doing something and then don't do it, you are not being prudent but stupid. Prudence is not a bunch of principles to be learnt and that's it, but like all virtue it must be put into practice.
Prudence enlightens all the other virtues in their actions, it points out the measure of temperance, the bounds of Fortitude, the path of Justice, and always the golden mean (middle).
NECESSARY PARTS OF PRUDENCE
To be prudent we need to judge rightly what to do in certain situations, but to be a good judge we need experience, which will help to guide us from what we have learnt. This is found in our memory.
BUT MY MEMORY IS TERRIBLE, HOW CAN I RELY ON THAT?
Here are 4 things to help perfect your memory.
- Use all the senses you can especially by painting a good picture in you mind
- Set everything down in order, so that all the events and things can be brought back easily.
- Be keen and want to remember it so that it sticks in your mind more easily.
- Reflect and go over and over the thing to be remembered often so it becomes to you like second nature.
This is not the gift of the Holy Ghost which gives us a quick insight into the things of God.
But it is => A right estimation or summing up of the principles for acting well.
Prudence = Reason used rightly and applied to certain actions, but to do this you need to understand WHAT IT IS THAT YOU ARE DOING, or to put it simple you need to be able to thing straight. So understanding could be called thinking straight.
To be docile => to be easily lead, like an animal is said to be docile, or easily lead or taught.
Prudence is about particular matters and actions, and as the amount of ways we can act are almost infinite, we can not consider all of them at once and work out which one to do.
So we stand in great need to be taught by others especially by those older than us who have already the understanding of how to go about particular actions.
Thus Holy Scripture says, "Learn not on thy own Prudence."
It is a mark of docility to be taught, thus it is necessary for Prudence if we willing to be taught by other, especially to learn by the experience of those older and wiser.
To be shrewd is to find out the truth by the best way.
Prudence is the right estimation or way of doing particular actions here and now. So if we have to find out things for ourselves and take what we know to be the right steps to do this action then this is called SHREWDNESS.
Another name could be Providence, that is, to provide or see ahead and be ready for unexpected happenings. These things don't have to necessarily happen so they are in our power of controlling. Things like having the means of saving our souls, that is, grace, is something necessary for us, and not is our direct control. This is what we call Divine Providence. Things which are not necessary, but are every day events can be directed by us, and are a matter which Prudence directs.
Things like enough food for the family, enough clothes on a cold day, eating healthy food, saving money in my piggy bank for my new bike or roller blades, or whatever.
O WHAT A BIG WORD !!!
Well not so big all it means is to be careful to look before you leap, or as they say, "Fools rush in where angel fear to tread".
What is the basic principle of all the actions we do?
Answer = "Do good and avoid evil"
Prudence directs us to the RIGHT AND GOOD end or else it is not Prudence, for in all VICE (Bad habits) and sin is IMPRUDENCE. Thus the end and the means we take to that end must be good.
But can’t we do evil that good might come from it. No way!!
But Robin Hood robbed from the rich to give to the poor, this was good! Wasn't it?
For an action to be good we don't have to look only at the end result but sometimes at the CIRCUMSTANCES too. O NO! another big word. All it means is those things surrounding the actions that all.
For example to throw a baseball is good, but to do it inside the chapel isn't is it? To eat a hamburger is good, but not on Friday. They things surrounding these actions (CIRCUMSTANCES) change them from good to bad. Thus we need to look around at the surroundings of our actions before we do them
Is It a sin?
It would seem that it is not because no one wants to be imprudent, and only a wilful act is a sin, so it seems that imprudence is not a sin.
True, we don't want to be imprudent, but we still want to do the act, and we want to do the act without thinking, that is rashly, so in this way it is a sin.
Original sin only comes to us when we are born, but so does imprudence, for when we are young we are imprudent, so we can’t help it and it is not a sin.
When man fell from original justice into the state of original sin he did not lose all of his perfections, but had his nature wounded. Imprudence is the lack of virtue and can not be blamed on original sin completely.
Imprudence has two meanings
- It means not having Prudence, that is, the absence only.
- As a lack of something we should have. For example, I don't have wings, but it is not necessary for my nature to have wings, or a one week old baby not walking and talking as you and I, this is something lacking but it is not possible for the baby at this stage to have.
But when it is Prudence which a person according to his age should have or at least be trying to obtain, then it becomes imprudence, because it is against what his reason tells him to be right.
Also imprudence can be also something wilful, by an act or movement against prudence itself. For example, a prudent man will take counsel (advice from someone), but on the other hand the imprudent man will despise (hate) counsel. Thus to despise the commandments and teaching (counsel) of the Church is a grave sin.
For every virtue there is a share or part of Prudence helping out and directing virtue, so with Imprudence there is always a defect or something missing in our thinking and reasoning.
(Being in too much rush and thus not thinking as we should)
Usually when we as keen about doing something we look at the thing only and at very little else. We don't think whether this is right or wrong, all we want is to do this and forget about anything else. Here is where we make the big mistake. This is a defect of Counsel in ourselves.
Is this a sin?
Well, the law of God does not make us sin, yet it inclines us to be thoughtless, for Our lord said in the Gospel of St. Matthew, "Take no thought how of what to speak.." So it would seem to not be a sin.
Our Lord does not forbid us to think when we have the chance, but when we are called upon suddenly or do not have the knowledge, we can then turn our eyes to god. On the other hand if a man instead of doing what he can were to be content to wait for God's assistance, then he would be tempting God and not be assured of His help.
What is thought?
Thought is an act of our mind considering the truth about something.
Think about a Hamburger, a hot dog, a doughnut, we think on the object in our mind and say, " Yes this is a hamburger, this is a hot dog."
In other words we make a judgement and say this thing is truly what it is supposed to be.
So when our actions lack the right judgement because we wilfully refuse to accept our true judgement, then we are thoughtless. Or we hold in contempt and complete disregard those things upon which our judgement depends, namely, memory, advice of those who know, circumstances etc. this is a defect of Judgement.
That is, being irregular by saying you would some good work and not going through with it to the end. You know the story, your parents want you to do something, which is good, you know it is good, but you don't really feel like doing it, "O, I can't be bothered, I'd rather do this instead."
You have good purpose, that is, you know it is good, but you can't get motivated, Why? It is due to the passions having too much say in our decisions, and causing us to become very weak willed.
When we go against what we know to be good, even though difficult, we go against Prudence, which helps us to do right, here it is a defect in our COMMAND.
As we have said before being inconsistent is due to a lack of command, of ordering our actions the way they should be. negligence is more concerned with our will, because the negligent man falls by the hindrance or restraining of his will to do what he knows to be good. We are all negligent at one time of another, but we should always strive to return to our previous fervour and not be content to just be so-so, or else the words of our lord shall be applied to us, "Because thou art lukewarm I will vomit thee out of my mouth..".
Serious contempt for those things necessary for our salvation are serious matter and are mortally sinful.
Craftiness is to adopt ways that are not true but counterfeit and apparently true to obtain an end either good or bad. Craftiness is in the thinking out of these ways, and thus can be confused with prudence. So when a man uses means to an end either good or bad which are not true means but false and counterfeit, then he is crafty and committing a sin.
Remember that the Devil is cunning like a serpent.
Having looked at Prudence as the guide to all the virtues we now look at those Cardinal virtues which have a more specific object.
NEXT VIRTUE JUSTICE.............