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. As a result, judgment applies wisdom to the decision-making process. “The practical judgment of conscience applies this particularized wisdom to the actual circumstances of a given case.” 1 The prudent person knows that healthy food results in good health and therefore judges accordingly for the good.
When we fail to listen to counsel (which can never fail us as it is a gift from the Holy Spirit) we apply faulty judgment to the decision making process and thus do not produce a virtuous action.
When we properly apply judgment with the end goal of a true good in mind, we apply moral principles to our decision-making process; determining the virtuous action to achieve good and avoid evil.
How does ‘command’ work regarding Prudence’s Principle Workings? We’ll address that question in our next reflection on the virtue of Prudence. Don’t miss it!
1 Cessario, Romano. The Moral Virtues and Theological Ethics. P. 86 Notre Dame: Notre Dame University Press, 2009, Print.