Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Last week I did a post on patience in which I realized I really needed to focus on the seven virtues laid out by the Church. I have some gaps in my Catholic knowledge, so you'll have to bear with me.  This week, I'm looking in to prudence.

Virtues with Turkeys

I had an inkling of a definition for prudence, but honestly I wasn't really sure about it.  

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, prudence is contracted from the Latin providentia which means seeing ahead.

Here's a definition from the Catechism:

1806 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; "the prudent man looks where he is going."65 "Keep sane and sober for your prayers."66 Prudence is "right reason in action," writes St. Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle.67

This seems like just the virtue for me this week.  I've been stressed out from traveling with small children last weekend, hosting company this week, preparing for Thanksgiving, and planning for Christmas. It should be noted that my hosting consists of people stopping over for a couple of hours and it isn't for meals, and my Thanksgiving prep is making one measly pie (nothing heroic here).

How do babies know when we're busy?  I've been anxious about getting things done and of course my daughter just needs to be held.  Today as I held her I knew God would rather I comfort his sweet child than dust the house.  That was the prudent decision (also obvious-she was crying).  But realizing it was prudence, and not a nuisance, allowed me to let go and enjoy the moment.  

This is so much better than dusting.

The CCC also says:
1835 Prudence disposes the practical reason to discern, in every circumstance, our true good and to choose the right means for achieving it.

My crazy helpers.  They stopped dancing long enough to dump in some brown sugar.  Sometimes we bake on the floor so as to avoid standing on chairs which leads to chicken fights and potential falls.

We can practice prudence in many ways big and small.  One must be prudent in deciding how to use his time.  Parents need to use prudence when making decisions about schooling for their children.  I try to use prudence in buying things for our family.  Some say it is the mother of all virtues because it can guide our decisions and actions.

Super Husband!  Headed out to buy some nutmeg because his wife was lacking prudence and didn't check to make sure she had all the ingredients ahead of time.  Also picking up beans to act as oven weights.  

1810 Human virtues acquired by education, by deliberate acts and by a perseverance ever-renewed in repeated efforts are purified and elevated by divine grace. With God's help, they forge character and give facility in the practice of the good. The virtuous man is happy to practice them.  (CCC)

With that, I'm off to finish the pie.  Happy Thanksgiving!

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