Virtues Part Two: Prudence & Justice A quick review:
As a Catholic Church we recognize seven virtues belonging to two distinct categories:
Theological Virtues: Faith, Hope, Love
Moral or Cardinal Virtues: Prudence, Justice, Temperance, and Fortitude
The name cardinal comes from the Latin word for hinge (cardo): “That on which another thing depends.”
So these virtues have an effect on how we live with God and with one another and shape us and as we grow in faith and understanding, they assist us in living as Christians. With that in mind we will explore the virtues of prudence and justice.
It has been said that prudence is the “queen of all virtues” since it controls all others, guiding conduct specifically and practically. To be prudent is to practice discretion and good sense, to be cautious, giving serious thought before speaking or acting. One who is prudent is reflective and refrains from reckless or “knee-jerk” reactions. To be prudent is to be in control of oneself, to be disciplined and have an ability to apply reason to one’s actions. A prudent person sees the larger picture and is patient and wise as he looks to the future.
Knowing that, it is understandable that prudence would in fact describe well a true Christian. Think how often Jesus went away to be alone, or withheld words, even when under attack. He was thoughtful and cautious, he had an ability to judge when to speak and when to withhold teaching.
“As they were coming down from the mountain, He gave them orders not to relate to anyone what they had seen, until the Son of Man rose from the dead.” Mark 9.9
To be prudent is to develop and use wisely the gift of self-control that is ours as one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. In faith we know that God is with us and recognizing that, the prudent person depends upon it in all his actions or decisions.
"I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion. Proverbs 8.12
Justice is a virtue that calls us to a deep understanding of the dignity of every person. To be a person of justice is to understand that all people deserve a fair share in life and a person who engages in justice stands in solidarity with all the people of God. A person who practices the virtue of justice possesses an attitude of fairness to all and does not stand in judgement of others. I am not speaking of judging the actions of another; I am speaking of not judging one person more deserving of dignity than another.
We share our world with people who, like us, were created in the image and likeness of God. In that way, ALL people are deserving of respect. To be a person of justice often calls us to speak on behalf of others and uphold their dignity as children of God. A person with a heart of justice loves all people and puts the needs of others before self. Justice is often called the sister of charity.
“The just care for the cause of the poor; the wicked do not understand such care.” Proverbs 29.7
Next week we will examine the remaining cardinal virtues; Temperance and Fortitude. Let us reflect this week on how we are doing in our practice of prudence and justice and together let us pray for God’s wisdom and guidance as we assimilate these virtues in our Christian living.
Grace and peace,
He Would Love First!
October 24, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC