Building Catholic Character in Students: Let Prudence Guide your Decisions

catholic book character

The Catholic Book of Character and Success: Chapter Notes

Chapter Nine: Let Prudence Guide your Decisions.

  • The intellect hungers for truth.
  • It can reason using knowledge to form new conclusions.
  • This reasoning directs your will to act on ideas and conclusions.
  • Prudence is the first of the four cardinal virtues that form a character.
  • It is concerned with intelligence.
  • Prudence allows us to judge correctly in how to act in fulfilment of our duties of state.
  • Our minds are continuously weighing up different courses of conduct in how to act.
  • Every day we are presented with various courses of action that call for us to prioritise.
  • Your intellect considers each alternative course of action and reports this to you.
  • If you have developed Prudence, the habit to judge correctly, the intellect will choose the best option to take up, postponing or rejecting others.
  • If your will is conscientious and good, it will follow your intellect and discharge your duty.
  • If you lack Prudence you will either have great difficulty in choosing at all, or you will choose the wrong course of action.
  • There are practical means of acquiring and growing Prudence.
  • One is to always take time to weigh important decisions maturely, considering the pros and cons of any line of action.
  • If possible, make contact with trusted and prudent advisers for their thoughts.
  • Careful reflection and the use of intelligence and imagination, can support decision making by anticipating the consequences of alternative courses of action.
  • An offer of a higher paid job and a promotion at another firm sounds tempting, but one must prudently assess the likely outcomes of such a move: will it make me more virtuous? Will it impact of my family and spiritual life? Money as we know is not everything.
  • This careful reflection is an exercise in the use of Prudence.
  • Once Prudence has been exercised, make a firm decision in sound knowledge that you have solid reasons for it.
  • Every exercise of the habit of Prudence strengthens the character of that person.
  • They become more prudent and grow in wisdom with every act.
  • They become known as prudent characters and will be sought out as sound advisers on weighty matters.
  • Some are naturally inclined towards Prudence, whilst others are naturally more impulsive with strong imaginations, requiring special effort to cultivate Prudence.
  • Weigh up your own character and see which one you are more inclined towards. Previous criticisms by those who know you will help you decide.
  • Use your memories to recall when you have made errors in the past so as to cultivate foresight to see them coming in the future.
  • The opposite faults diametrically opposed to Prudence are: hastiness, thoughtlessness in acting, inconsiderateness in rushing headlong without looking, changeableness and indecision, abandoning resolutions, wavering in action between two lines of action.
  • False prudence is known by the following traits: over cautiousness leading to indecision by usually fretting over trivial matters, selfishly cautious, craftiness and cunning.
  • These faults are contrary to prudence in displaying a lack of judgement.
  • As in all other virtues, Prudence is attained by holding the middle course, avoiding both excess and deficiency.

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