Prudence in this generation

- Fr. Roy Cimagala - The Freeman

There is such thing as prudence. Sorry if I have to make that reminder. But precisely because of the temper of the times, when most people are now pushed and pulled by viral electronic impulses, I believe there is great sense to issue that reminder.

Prudence is actually a very important virtue. It's one of the cardinal virtues to which all other human virtues are hinged. It enables us to view and judge things properly and to act accordingly. It makes us plan things well.

We just have to be more sensitive to what would comprise its essential part that should not change, and its incidental part that could change depending on circumstances and other relevant factors. It's important that we be clear about this, so we would not get lost especially during these very dynamic, technology-driven times.

Prudence, of course, presumes a certain hierarchy of values that we should respect, uphold and defend. It should be vitally connected with wisdom that in the end connects us with God and all others, as well as all things in the world, through love and truth.

We have to make sure that our prudence is not only motivated by secondary criteria, like efficiency, effectiveness, practicality, profitability, convenience, etc. If it does not lead us to a closer relation with God, with others and the rest of the world, then it would not be true prudence.

We might enjoy some perks that these secondary standards may give us, but it would not be true prudence when it fails to lead us to our proper relationship with God, others and the rest of the world.

Of course, true prudence springs first of all from our intimate personal relation with God, the source of all good things, of all truth, of all love. Without that foundation, our prudence would be limited to mere appearances of prudence that would be nothing other than the prudence of the world and the prudence of the flesh, if not the prudence of the devil.

Because of this, we cannot overemphasize the need for prayers and meditation, especially on the word of God that reveals to us the workings of God's wisdom and prudence.

With that foundation taken care of, prudence requires us to develop certain attitudes, skills and practices, like openness to all things, acquisition of more knowledge of things in general and of oneself, which means that we have to be observant and perceptive, and that we know how study, how to relate things and come out with conclusions, etc.

We also need to consult and discuss things with others, which presumes that we have an open and transparent personality, capable of entering into meaningful dialogue with others. Openness here does not mean we do not have our own opinions and beliefs. We can and should have, but still willing to listen to others.

We have to learn how to be friendly with everyone, including those with whom we might have sharp differences. We have to learn how to go beyond our personal preferences and beliefs so as to be able to engage with those who are different from us or are even in conflict with us.

If we happen to be part of a decision-making body, we have to learn how to play teamwork and to practice collegiality in every step of the process. We have to be wary of our tendency to do things simply on our own, especially if we happen to be the head of that body. We have to learn how to settle and resolve differences.

Prudence should not be stranded in the stages of studying and analyzing things alone. It has to go all the way to making a decision and of executing it. There may be reasons for some waiting and postponement to be made. But ordinarily, prudence includes action, and not just thinking, judging and analyzing.

Now, given the temper of the times, we should understand that this virtue of prudence needs to be exercised at a much faster pace than that of the previous generations. The new technologies, if properly grounded, oriented and used, can actually help us in this.

Of course, we should never forget that there are instances when we have to hold for a while the decision-making and its execution. But we have to remember that the issues, problems and challenges of today need to be attended to more promptly and, of course, most correctly.

This is how prudence has to be developed today. It has to be on a par with the needs of the times.

[email protected].

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