Month of Mary – May Devotions – Day 14 – Virgin Most Prudent!
I recall an experience I had in a monastery that will live with me always! I visited the monastery for my personal retreat and I joined the young monks on formation to participate in their formative programmes. I was still under formation too. I realised that the novice master was fond of correcting his young monks who made mistakes on the spot, during liturgical sessions or otherwise. It was my turn to perform a certain ceremony and I missed a step though not an essential one he said but he did not correct me on the spot rather after the ceremony, he called me and took me aside and said “I couldn’t correct you as I usually do to my young monks, not because you were untouchable but prudence informed me that you were a visitor and you were not aware of our processes of learning and formation, lest I and the community end up hurting you, so I was careful! Hmmm!
A virtue that is synonymous with wisdom is prudence. It is also less talked about in spiritual spheres but may be unconsciously and craftily applied in the secular arenas as it is linked with diplomacy. Prudence is one of the cardinal virtues of our faith and spiritual life. It’s opposite and enemy is indiscretion or lack of common sense. Prudence unlike wisdom is not strictly based on experience and age but on common sense and lack of it can destroy a lot of good will and intention. Prudence is simply being careful and knowing when to speak and act in order not to hurt people or reveal secrets unnecessarily. It is a behaviour that is measured by the marks of sobriety, probity and carefulness. As healthy as it is, it can be abused. Somebody can abuse prudence when he/she becomes too careful to a fault and refuses to open up to new things or fresh lines of thoughts.
In the Litany of Loreto our Lady is called and invoked as “Virgo Prudentissima,” or “Virgin Most Prudent.” Meaning, one whose actions were preceded by discretion, insightfulness and sound judgement. Here is her line of prudence with the Angel Gabriel during the holy conference that led to the conception of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: “Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I have no knowledge of man?’” She vividly remembered her act of consecration to the Lord and had to ask a question before responding or giving her Yes to God. She did not rush into responding but carefully considered her previous vow to the Lord. This is indeed a Prudent Lady and Mother! Mother give us your prudence because every believer needs prudence!
A quote from St. Padre Pio: You must always have both prudence and love. Prudence has the eyes, love has the legs! Love which has the legs wants to run to God and others, but its impulse to rush is blind and at times can stumble! So, it must be guided by prudence, which has the eyes. When prudence sees that love could become unbridled, it loans its eyes to love. In this way love restrains itself and, guided by prudence, acts as it should and not as it would like.
VIRGIN MOST PRUDENT – PRAY FOR US!