Practicing the 4 Cardinal Virtues Four-Week Challenge – Week 1 – Prudence
A friend sent me a link to My Catholic Faith online. My Catholic Faith is an awesome catechetical resource. Are you fuzzy about our faith? You can brush up online or buy a print copy of My Catholic Faith on Amazon.
So My Catholic Faith asks:
Which are the chief moral virtues? –The chief moral virtues are prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance; these are called cardinal virtues.
All other moral virtues spring from the cardinal virtues. These are called cardinal from cardo, the Latin word for hinge, because all our moral actions turn on them as a door turns upon its hinges. All other moral virtues depend on them.
How do prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance dispose us to lead good lives? –Prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance dispose us to lead good lives, as indicated below:
Prudence disposes us in all circumstances to form right judgments about what we must do or not do.-It teaches us when and how to act in matters relating to our eternal salvation. Prudence perfects the intelligence, which is the power of forming judgments; for this virtue, knowledge and experience are important.
Prudence shows us how to leave earthly things in order to earn riches for eternity. It is the eye of the soul, for it tells us what is good and what is evil. It is like a compass that directs our course in life. It is opposed to worldly wisdom. “Be prudent therefore and watchful in prayers” (1 Pet. 4:7). Prudence is a virtue of the understanding.
Justice disposes us to give everyone what belongs to him.-It teaches us to give what is due to God and to man. It makes us willing to live according to the commandments. Justice perfects the will and safeguards the rights of man: his right to life, freedom, honor, good name, sanctity of the home, and external possessions.
The just man is an upright man. He gives to every one his due: he gives God worship; the authorities, obedience; his subordinates, rewards and punishments; and his equals, brotherly love. “Render to all men whatever is their due; tribute to whom tribute is due; taxes to whom taxes are due; fear to whom fear is due; honor to whom honor is due” (Rom. 13:7).
Fortitude disposes us to do what is good in spite of any difficulty.-It gives us strength to do good and avoid evil in spite of all obstacles and afflictions.
We possess fortitude when we are not hindered by ridicule, threats, or persecution from doing what is right; when we are ready, if necessary, to suffer death. The greatest fortitude is shown by bearing great suffering rather than undertaking great works. No saint was ever a coward. The martyrs had fortitude.
Temperance disposes us to control our desires and to use rightly the things which please our senses.-It regulates our judgment and passions, so that we may make use of temporal things only in so far as they are necessary for our eternal salvation. We have temperance when we eat and drink only what is necessary to sustain life, preserve health, and fulfill our duties.
We should strive to be like St. Francis of Sales, who said: “I desire very little, and that little I desire but little.” However, temperance does not consist in refusing or denying ourselves what is necessary, thus unfitting ourselves for good works.
Now why am I discussing the theological virtues as if I’m a nun teaching elementary school kids? Well… the truth is I am doing this for me. Yes me.
I realize I have some weaknesses and it would be good if I would focus on practicing some of these virtues. Therefore, each week, I’m going to focus on one virtue and at the end of the week, I will come back right here to discuss the opportunities I had to practice this virtue and whether it was a success or fail.
Anyone care to join me in this four-week challenge as I attempt to exercise these virtues?
So, this week, I’m going to focus on prudence. Will you join me?