Thought for the Day – 28 September – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
Prudence and Simplicity
“Prudence is one of the Cardinal Virtues frequently recommended in the Sacred Scriptures.
“If you receive My words and treasure My commands,” the Holy Spirit tells us in the Book of Proverbs, “turning your ear to wisdom, inclining your heart to understanding… if you seek her like silver and like hidden treasures, search her out, then you will understand the fear of the Lord, the knowledge of God you will find” (Prov 2:2-61).
Then, He promises, God will counsel and protect you, “for wisdom will enter your heart, knowledge will please your soul, discretio will watch over you, understanding will guard you; saving you from the way of evil men” (Cf Prov 2:2-12).
The word ‘prudence,‘ as St Thomas Aquinas explains, is derived from the word ‘providence‘ and it consists in ordering everything correctly towards its proper end (Summa Theologiae II-II, q 49, a 6).
From that we can see how necessary this virtue is.
A man who can order everything correctly, towards its own end, does everything as it ought to be done.
He will have achieved true wisdom, which is the foundation of sanctity.
To speak when we should speak; to be silent when we should be silent; never to leave unsaid what ought to be said but, to know when we should speak and how much; to pay attention mainly to necessary things, that is, to God and to the supernatural; to avoid every thought which would separate us from God and endanger our salvation; to love God more than anything else and more than ourselves because, He is the supreme good and our supreme happiness; to love other things only in God and for Him; solely to direct all our actions proportionately towards God, towards our neighbour and, towards ourselves and, to avoid every act which would alienate us from God, which would be contrary to His precepts, or which would endanger our eternal salvation.
And this is true prudence, which is founded on divine wisdom and must be continually nourished by the grace of God an inspired by charity.
Since this virtue pervades and embraces all the others, a man who achieves perfection in it, has reached the peak of holiness.
But perhaps we are too preoccupied with worldly interests and so, stray from the straight path which leads to God and to sanctity? ”