How To Be Prudent


Painting by Eugene de Blaas. Austrian (1843 – 1932)

by E. Dunne, C.SS.R., J.C.D., Australian Catholic Family Magazine

Women might be more emotional than men, but, on the whole, what is called commonsense seems to be equally divided among the sexes. Some are born with it; some learn it through experience; others never acquire it.

Commonsense is natural prudence. It means choosing the right means, doing the right thing.

For the conduct of life and for getting to heaven, commonsense is not enough. We need the supernatural virtue of prudence. Through this virtue a wife and mother keeps everything in her life in proper relation to God and His plan for us. In other words she never does anything that could take her away from God, or take others away from Him, and the conduct of her life is intelligent, secure, Christian and holy.

A very big program? That is precisely why prudence is needed. You practice prudence in these ways….

  1. In General

(a) By remaining in the state of grace. It is most imprudent to run the risk of losing one’s soul.

(b) By prayer. Prayer unites you with Our Lord, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. With the guidance given by God in prayer, your life will be safe and secure because it will be guided by prudence. It may not be easy, but at least it will be holy. If you always remember to pray, you will never sin. Sin is the abandoning of that which is right and proper and good.

(c) By keeping death and eternity before you. What does this matter for eternity? Is it worth it? How will this look on my death bed? Will I be glad I have acted like this when I come to die? These are the thoughts of a prudent woman.

  1. In Particular

To practice prudence in individual actions and affairs, it is necessary to think well, to choose well, and then to do what you have decided.

(a) To think well.

Train yourself against acting on the spur of the moment. If you tend to be imprudent in speech, resolve not to talk so much, and give yourself time to think of what you are going to say. Thus you will avoid uncharitableness, thoughtless and cutting remarks.

Before you drift into a situation or an occasion in which sin is almost inevitable, think and pray on your responsibility before God for your own soul and maybe for the soul of another.

Convince yourself that first things must come first. Peace of mind is better than money; purity comes before pleasure; peace in the home is preferable to winning arguments. These are the principles which will help you to be prudent. Before they will do you any good, however, you must be personally convinced of them.

(b) To choose well.

Wives and mothers often have momentous decisions to make.

One of my children is heading for spiritual disaster. How can I stop it?

Shall I send the children to this school or that school? Which is better?

My husband seems to be in spiritual difficulties. He is worried, withdrawn, moody. How can I help him?

To make a wrong decision in any of these things might make the situation worse. Choose well by considering all the possibilities. Write them down if necessary. Consult another more experienced or prudent person. Ask advice from your spiritual director, your parish priest.

Have you thought of consulting your husband? Perhaps he is only waiting to be asked, to share his and your burden. Before making a decision, always pray that prudence will help you to choose well.

(c) Do what you have decided.

Women are often hesitant and fearful, even though they know what they ought to do. It is imprudent to dilly-dally, and it often causes more harm. When you have prayed, thought and asked advice, make up your mind, and go ahead! Act!

You might still be fearful of the outcome, but you have acted prudently, and God will not blame you. He might blame you, if through imprudence, you do nothing.

Pray for prudence to Mary, the Most Prudent Virgin.

Charity towards your neighbor, tolerance for his opinions, indulgence for his defects, compassion for his errors, yes; but no cowardly and guilty concessions to human respect. Never allow fear of the ridicule or contempt of men to make you blush for your faith. -Light and Peace, Quadrupani https://amzn.to/2FZ6Ima (afflink)

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