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Thoughts for the Week
 
 

 

Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost

Thoughts for the Week - Fr R Taouk 
2nd October 2016

Sins Against the Virtue of Prudence by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre

The three acts of the Virtue of Prudence are: Deliberation (weighing different alternatives), Judgment (arriving at a decision), and Commanding (putting one's decision into action).

There are sins opposed to each of these acts:

  • Against Deliberation:  Hastiness, obstinacy.

  • Against Judgment:  Thoughtlessness.

  • Against Commanding (which is the chief act of prudence): Inconstancy, negligence.

1.   Hastiness, obstinacy

 "The way of the wicked is darksome: they know not where they fall" (Prov. 4:19). This is the problem of acting on impulse. One rushes headlong into a course of action, without passing through the intermediary steps needed for a good decision, e.g. past experience, knowledge of present circumstances, looking ahead, asking advice, respecting the views of elders.

2.   Thoughtlessness

One has the right principles but fails to draw the right conclusions. This occurs through contempt or neglect of those things on which a right judgment depends (Summa Theologiae II-II, q. 53-4). A case in point is the judgment of Solomon's son Roboam after his father's death (3 Kings 12), leading to the division and ultimate collapse of the Kingdom of Israel. Roboam let himself be swayed by conniving self-seekers. As a result of his decision, he sent all the wrong messages, lost the confidence of his subjects, and made a mockery of Divine Government.

3.  Inconstancy, negligence

One has made the right decision, but fails to act on it. One has adopted a good resolution, but fails to carry it out. Inconstancy is failing to put thoughts into action. "Everyone that hears these my words and doth them not, shall be like a foolish man" (Matt. 7). The sustained habit of lust is the main cause of sins against prudence. Inconstancy is related to negligence, which is the mistake of not following up on things decided, or failing to keep track of them. Negligence differs slightly from inconstancy. The wavering man is easily sidetracked and abandons his resolution, whereas the negligent man is slow to carry out his decision.