Evangelizing through the Catholic Arts

Prudence’s Principle Workings – Part III of III

command of action

How does ‘command’ work regarding Prudence’s Principle Workings? To command is to act upon good counsel and good judgment; therefore, Prudence gives judgment its authoritative value. However, if we fail to listen to good counsel, or discount good judgment, then our actions will be imprudent. Let’s go back to that bowl of ice cream, or slice of pizza. We all know that they taste good; however, they are not the healthiest of choices. Our counsel tells us that. We look for ways to discount good judgment by telling ourselves that one bowl or one slice won’t hurt us that much. That’s using faulty judgment, which culminates in the command to act imprudently. However, if we apply good counsel and good Continue reading

Prudence’s Principle Workings – Part II of III

Judgment 2

How does judgment come into play in the prudent decision making process? Once counsel has advised the conscience, then judgment is made for an action. Judgment takes into consideration the intention and the circumstance of the act itself. In the example that we used in our last reflection of deciding whether to eat a healthy item or an unhealthy item, the prudent person would opt for a healthier item based upon the judgment that the healthier item was better suited for maintaining good health. In judging, the prudent person uses a right mind with an end goal of good health in mind to decide on the healthier item rather than the bowl of ice cream or the slice of pizza. Continue reading

Prudence’s Principle Workings – Part I of III


What are Prudence’s principle workings? Prudence assists the individual in making a decision by using counsel, judgment and command. Today we will discuss counsel in detail, and cover judgment and command in the next two reflections respectively.

As noted in the Prudence at Work reflection, three things are considered with every decision: the act itself, the intention and the circumstances. Counsel addresses the means to the end (or the intention) and the circumstances. Counsel provides the conscience with advice as to whether or not the means to the desired end is morally appropriate. Saint Thomas Aquinas refers to the use of counsel as an act of inquiry, where the conscience solicits the advice of counsel in the decision-making process.1 Continue reading

Prudence’s Impact


Prudence quote

How does Prudence impact my life? Since it is Prudence that guides the conscience in determining the true good via a determination of appropriate versus inappropriate actions, it is Prudence that provides norms for behavior. Prudence is innate in the sense that God gifted us with the capacity to understand good versus evil, right versus wrong, but Prudence is also a practiced virtue, learned through life’s experience. Let’s take an example:

Innately, God gave you the gift of self-preservation; to not harm yourself. Through Natural Law you have an awareness of life, especially your own. You would never voluntarily stop breathing because you innately know that you need air to survive. So, an innate prudent action is to breathe; Continue reading

Prudence – The Guide

Applying Prudence

Why is Prudence so important? Prudence guides the action of the individual so that virtuous action may occur. Prudence alone does not produce virtuous activity, but it does guide the individual to do what is morally right by informing the conscience of appropriate versus inappropriate behavior. Through the gift of Prudence, the individual conscience receives “God’s particular wisdom for …each just, brave and temperate action through the medium of correct moral reasoning.” 1

With your end goal always being Heaven, each individual intention and circumstance of your actions play a pivotal role. Therefore, seek harmony in your acts, intentions and circumstances, with your objective always being to seek the true good in every decision that you make. Do not delude Continue reading

Prudence at Work

Making Decisions

How do you know if the decision you are making is a prudent one? What signs or signals do you receive to know that you are going down the right path?

We draw upon our practical reason to make decisions. We determine our end goal and we look at the steps (or means) necessary to reach that end goal. We employ prudence to evaluate both the means and the end. Will the end goal achieve a good intention? Will the means to achieve that end be morally appropriate as well? If the answer to both questions is yes, conscience arrives at what is deemed a prudent action. If the answer is no to either or both questions, then the conscience Continue reading

What is the Role of Prudence?

Role of Prudence

Have you ever given thought to what takes place when you make a decision? You take stock of your choices and evaluate them as either good or bad, for yourself, and for the common good. You determine your level of interest and/or desire regarding the choices. Your conscience weighs in on the decision making process. It is here, at this point, that prudence plays its role, informing you, via your conscience, of what is morally right and morally wrong. Prudence “assists man in interpreting data of experience and the signs of the times.”1

Let’s use an example: A man needs to get to work, but does not have transportation. He must make a decision – get a ride from Continue reading

What is Prudence?

What is Prudence

Have you ever wondered why or how certain people always seem to make the right decisions? You think, “They must be blessed,” for they never seem to make a mistake. Well these people practice the virtue of Prudence by applying practical reason to their decision making process, so that they may determine the true good every time, as well as choose the proper means for achieving the true good. Proper means to a good end, results in virtuous action – prudent action. To make a prudent decision, a person must know what the desired end goal is and whether that end goal is morally right. Next the person asks himself by what means he can achieve the desired end goal, Continue reading