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, and would the means applied also be morally right. We’ll discuss more about this in our next reflection.
Because prudence applies practical reason to the decision making process, it is considered an intellectual virtue; one that guides other virtues by guiding our consciences. When we listen to our consciences, we make right judgments in our decision making processes. Prudence relies on the Natural Law infused within us at birth by God to understand right from wrong; good from evil. (Refer to Understanding Good vs. Evil post). Thusly, prudence helps us apply the moral principles of right and wrong to our decisions without error. We become more confident in choosing the true good and avoiding evil.
What role does Prudence play? We’ll discuss that question in our next reflection on the virtue of Prudence. Don’t miss it!