God gives every human being an innate ability to understand right from wrong. We call that innate ability “our consciences.” In assessing our consciences, the priority of Prudence is paramount. Why? Because Prudence impacts every decision that we make. For example, no one needs to tell you that it is wrong to kill. Innately, you just know. How? Your conscience tells you so. If you were to contemplate killing someone, you would feel a sense of uneasiness, warning bells go off in your head, and you just know in the depths of your soul that killing another human being is wrong. The question is, do we listen to the prudent guidance of our consciences?
The Priority of Prudence
The virtue of Prudence enables us to apply practical reason to our decision-making process, so that we can determine what is good, or bad, every time. Prudence also helps us to choose the proper means for achieving the true good and avoiding those things that go against God’s moral law. We value the priority of Prudence when we use it to choose the good – we listen to our consciences. We ignore the priority of Prudence when we disregard our consciences, choosing to sin. Prudence will never steer you wrong, because the virtue comes from God, Himself. It just comes down to what path you want to take.
Prudence fosters growth in every other virtue, should we choose the path of virtue. With Prudence informing our consciences of right versus wrong, we can better see the “good.” We choose to be kind rather than mean; to love rather than hate; to hope rather than despair. Prudence lights our path toward the good, and for this reason it takes priority over every other virtue. For without Prudence, we have no moral compass. Seek Prudence and make it a priority in your life.
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