(From a 2012 Lent and Easter series of sermons on the Catholic Virtues.)
After John had been arrested, Jesus began to proclaim the gospel of God:
To repent is to be sorry for what one has done, and to turn away from it. Repentance looks at the past, but for the sake of the future – the time of fulfillment, the kingdom of God, a new way of life. And when I think of a new way of life, I think of virtues.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines a virtue as a disposition to do the good, a disposition which is firm and habitual. I also consulted Webster’s for the etymology of the word. It derives from the Latin “virtus”, based on the word “vir” meaning “a man”, the idea being that a virtuous person is like a man rather than a child. The etymology went on to say “see werewolf”. I thought that was kind of weird, so I looked up werewolf. It’s an old English compound word, combining “wer” meaning “man”, very similar to the Latin “vir”, and “wulf” meaning “wolf”. A werewolf, in folklore, being a creature that flips between being human and wolf.
To put these thoughts together, you might say that a virtuous person rises above the immature self-indulgence of the childish, and above the drives and appetites of the animal instincts which can be so savage. In fact, the childish easily becomes savage, as I learned in my first year teaching, even without reading “Lord of the Flies”.
So to be virtuous is to be mature, fully human, and since the Bible describes the human as created in the image of God, virtuous living develops that God-like character planted within us by the Creator.
Christian thinkers have traditionally spoken of different types of virtues, the human and the theological. Human virtues, sometimes called moral virtues, can be acquired through human effort. They order our passions and guide our conduct in accordance with reason and faith. Among these human virtues are four that are pivotal, known as cardinal virtues – prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance.
The theological virtues are so-called because they pertain directly to God and are considered gifts of God: faith, hope, and charity. We will start with the human virtues, and first in the list, because it is considered the charioteer of the other virtues, guiding their use, is prudence.
To quote again the Catechism:
It is prudence that immediately guides the judgment of conscience.
We may think of prudence as a kind of caution that borders on timidity, not rushing in where angels fear to tread. And while it is true that many mistakes are made by rushing in without thinking, there may be times when taking quick and decisive action is the prudent thing to do. Whether we go slow or sush in, “the prudent one looks where his is going”, and the Book of Proverbs says (Prv. 14:15). And as Thomas Aquinas said, prudence is “right reason in action”.
As long as we are discerning our true good and choosing the right means to achieve it in the concrete circumstances of the situation, we are being prudent. And how important that can be.
I read about a young woman named Beth who went to medical school because, when she was a young child, her grandmother saw her tending an injured robin and remarked, “you’d make a good doctor”. But into her second year of medical studies, all of which she aced, she realized that she herself didn’t really want to be a doctor. But what, then? She fell into a deep funk, slept all the time, was snippy with her friends. She had hardly rushed into medical school from the age of eight, but she had never discerned her own true good.
Ever have buyer’s remorse? You fell in love with the house, or with the person. In your passionate desire you overlooked certain critical features, like adjustability of the mortgage, or the radical difference in lifestyle expectations. You saw what you wanted to see and imagined you could make it all work. Love conquers all! Together forever! Inspired feelings when young, but not necessarily prudent.
Ever get into an argument and persist so long in proving your point, or trying to explain yourself, that it became counterproductive? The harder you tried, the worse it got. Counterproductive means that you did not discern the true good, or choose the right means.
Go to war, or give diplomacy more time to work? That’s a question for our times – think Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran. Obviously the true good is justice, and the preferred means are peaceful, but the concrete circumstances have a lot to do with a prudent decision. Our thinking about war or diplomacy continues to be influenced by Neville Chamberlain, the British Prime Minister who returned from his Munich conference with Adolph Hitler and announced that they had reached a diplomatic resolution. There would be “peace in our time”, and everyone cheered. Chamberlain so dreaded another war that he imagined Hitler didn’t want war either, and was telling the truth when he said that slice of Czechoslovakia was the last of his territorial demands.
Ever since, hawks have said it is not prudent to appease power-hungry dictators, and doves have said “this time is different”, and which one is right depends. Not every world situation is like Hitler pushing around the western democracies in 1938, but sometimes that’s exactly what’s going on. Sometimes it is foolish to rush in where angels fear to tread, but sometimes he who hesitates is lost. Prudence figures out what time it is.
Perhaps a good way of wrapping up our consideration of prudence is with a saying of Jesus Christ that connects this virtue to the whole project of growing up in the image of God and achieving our ultimate true good.
Jesus said, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and lose his soul?” That’s a saying about prudence.
Next time, Justice, fortitude and temperance.
Return to Web Site Log (BLOG) page
Return to HOME PAGE
Hover-Link Footnotes: For the convenience of those readers using devices that lack a mouse, these footnotes are provided for all webpages, in case any webpage contains any hover-links. (If you don't have a mouse, you can't "hover" over a link.)
Monday, March 11, 2013
Converted Page to SBI! Release 3.0 BB 2.0.
Date: Sat Dec 13 2014
From: Vic Biorseth
Changes pursuant to changing the website URL
and name from
Thinking Catholic Strategic Center to
Catholic American Thinker.
Pulled the trigger on the 301 MOVE IT option June 1, 2014. Working my way through all the webpages. .
Please note the language and tone of this monitored Website. This is not the place to stack up vulgar
one-liners and crude rejoinders. While you may support, oppose or
introduce any position or argument, submissions must meet our
standards of logical rigor and civil discourse. We will not
participate in merely trading insults, nor will we tolerate participants merely
trading insults. Participants should not be
thin-skinned or over sensitive to criticism, but should be prepared to
defend their arguments when challenged. If you don’t really have a
coherent argument or counter-argument of your own, sit down and don’t
embarrass yourself. Nonsensical, immoral or merely insulting submissions will
not be published here. If you have something serious to contribute to
the conversation, back it up, keep it clean and keep it civil. We humbly
apologize to all religious conservative thinkers for the need to even say
these things, but the New Liberals are what they are, and the internet is what it is.
If you fear repercussions, do not use your real name and
do not include email or any identifying information.
Never be lukewarm.
Life itself demands passion.
He who is indifferent to God has already forfeited his soul.
He who is indifferent to politics has already forfeited his liberty.
In America, religion is not mere window dressing and citizenship is not a spectator sport.
Do not allow our common destiny as a whole people to just happen without your input.
Welcome to my website.
Catholic American Thinker Free E-zine Subscription
Do you Know something?
Does it need to be said?
General Commentary Pages
Various unrelated topics that stirred thought and provoked writing (or quoting) at one time or another. The Everything Else Bucket.
Undoing Evil: Unraveling the sly "Good Intentions" destroying the West. Undoing Evil means reversing Political Correctness and Amorality, and returning to Pure Meritocricy.
Letter to an American Warrior, from an old American Citizen, with Love. An old man's advice to a young man, sent in a letter to an American Warrior.
The Judas Complex: How a traitor may not recognized his own treason. The Judas Complex explains how Judas Iscariot - like many a modern day Bishop - compromised with the world.
Christmas 2014: Hope is Reborn; Salvation has come into the world. The Christmas 2014 Turning Point: The Kingdom is upon us; our King is among us.
A Personal Relationship with Jesus Christ deepens faith and faith commitment. A Personal Relationship with America deepens love of country and patriotic commitment.
Work at home jobs that have had me. A long, costly and unsuccessful run at work from home jobs that didn't work for us.
Truth versus Agenda addresses the simplest of problems greatly complexified. Truth versus Agenda examines the contest between reality and its opposition.
Vic has Iron Weights for sale; Mama says they have to go. Lots of iron weights for sale; all have to go at once, in one sale.
My poor old truck is again starting to look like a poor old truck. After half-a-million miles, we're now approaching another decision time; another paint job, or a new truck.
A Palin Parker Ticket? My Dream Candidates for 2012. Why a Palin Parker ticket is better than any professional politician Republican ticket you can come up with for 2012.
Elitism Vs Palinism: Why the Left and the Elites Loath and Fear Sarah Palin. It isn’t just Marxism Vs Palinism; it’s also established intellectual elitism vs Palinism. The elite need someone to look down upon.
Here we see Bush family class captured in a simple private citizen’s photo. George W. (and Mrs.) Bush quietly demonstrate Bush family class without hoopla or fanfare.
Marxists love crisis, and they love an oil spill crisis most of all. Marxists even create and drive crisis. Their favorite crisis of all must be the Oil Spill Crisis, which is even better than a Banking Crisis.
The Godless Left leads the young and naive to their utopian Hell. For an honest comparison of the effects on youth, we need to look to the history of the Godless Left versus the Religious Right.
On Threats to America's National Existence. A look at the nature of our national existence, what makes us America, physical threats to that, and the possibility of just going out of existence.
On the ethics of language: English dictionary Vs. Political-Correctness taboos. Language evolves, yet morals are (or should be) fixed. This poses questions re the ethics of language.
Thinking Catholic direction: threats to America, Church, Ethos, even History. The Thinking Catholic Direction is multi-faceted, facing threats to American National Existence, Catholic Liturgy, our common Guiding Ethos - emphasis changes to meet the threat of the moment.
The website is going on hold for at least the next five weeks. Business calls, and I must respond. Will be traveling, and not taking the laptop this time.
Current Website Status. Still too busy for individual responses to questions, comments & criticisms.
Our 2006 Ohio Voter Guide. The choices are quite clear, and the 2006 Ohio Voter Guide was easy to produce.
On carrying my Lord, Jesus Christ, in my pocket. As a Eucharistic Minister, I am on occasion carrying the Lord Jesus in my pocket. It's a wondrous thing.
A 2006 Christmas and Hanukkah wish. May the Holy Days we celebrate remind us all of who we are, and how we are different from other peoples.
Current Democratic Party platform reveals anti-Semitic streak among Liberals. In their voting, their speechifying, and in the slant of their controlled mainstream media reporting, the current Democratic Party Platform is made clear to all observers.
The "Left", and The DaVinci Code, The Passion, and Cartoons of Mohammed. You can tell a lot about a movement by its public words. The Passion? "Unreservedly Bad." The DaVinci Code? "Unreservedly Good." Anything to do with Islam? "No Comment."
Home For Christmas 2008. Website Getting Active Again
Hydrogen power could be, and should be, the wave of our automotive future. Any move toward hydrogen power is a move toward a cleaner and more efficient fuel, and away from our dangerous dependency on oil.
Kerry lies again, and then lies about his lies, in concert with the SLIMC. There he goes again! Kerry lies again and again about American servicemen and veterans; he just can't help himself.
What's going on with Mel Gibson? Is he really an anti-Semite? I am surprised that Mel Gibson is an alcolholic. But I am never surprised at any words that come out of the mouth of any drunk.
Still Worrying Over NuVo Consequences. The Holidays have gone by, several days have passed, and the SANE NuVo Initiative still stands pat.
The Dem's October Surprise involves another flip-flop of their public "standard". The clearly pro-sodomy Party that openly seeks the "Gay" vote goes Victorian for another pre-election October Surprise ploy.
Some Problems with NuVo: the so-called Null-Vote Initiative. A "philosophical" movement aimed at keeping religious conservatives from voting? Seriously? Let me state my problems with NuVo.
Come, let us sit and reason together. Jews and Christians of various stripe and spot can say to each other, 'Come, let us sit and reason together.' But we can't do that with the Moslems.
Regarding SANE works dropping NuVo: Nul Vote Initiative dies with a whimper. If you can't really present a good argument, sit down. On SANE Works dropping the NuVo Initiative: a program that works hard to SOUND pro-American while ACTING to oppose American National Existence.
Even experts grossly underestimate the Marxist zeal of the American Left. The sharp Left turn happened in the Hoover-FDR era, and the Marxism of the American Left has been deepening ever since.
Thinking American, in a nutshell: When one has lots to say, but time is limited. The older I get, the busier I get. Answering multiple questions as a thinking American, but in a hurry.
"We are an Easter People, and Hallelujah is our Song." (John Paul the Great) Our absolutely unique and singular Easter story, and the incredible force with which it struck human history.
Witnessing, grieving and weeping for our dieing culture. What might it take to call a whole people back from the brink of cultural death?
So how come we have all these homeless people if our system is so great? The strong "Utopian Idealist" firmly believes that absolute worldly perfection is actually possible. Therefore, there should never be any such thing as a hungry or homeless person.
Taking a look at Illegal Imigration and Tax Problem solutions. In our view, the minimum wage and income tax have outlived their usefulness, and only contribute to the illegal alien problem.
First journal / blog entries when the thinking catholic blog first opened up. Notes to readers about what I was doing.
On-going WebSite work and planned WebPages as of 09/07/2006. Adding items to book store.
Vic's busted finger status - life goes on. Another busted finger status report, since the original one rolled off of the 50-entry BLOG update records.
Website Status as of 02/05/2009. No more Bookstore; no more Contact Me; no more complexity.
Website Status 03-09-2009. Just a note to bring you up to date on website status 03-09-2009.
Website Status 04/06/2009. Busy driving daily now; most website work will be weekend and as available.
The Plastic Bags and Eco Doom theory: will plastic bags end life as we know it? Plastic Bag and Eco Doom predictions tell us that plastic grocery and garbage bags will still be buried in the land fills and dumps a thousand years from now. Well … so what?
Farewell Smokey Biorseth; Rest In Peace. Hello Coal Biorseth; Welcome Home. As we were laying our beloved Smokey Biorseth to rest in his grave beside the lilies, a carbon-copy of Smokey, in younger form, emerged from the lilies.
Honky Biorseth really runs this house. If you want to know what's in any cabinet in the house, just ask Honky Biorseth.
More Marxist infiltration of higher education. Public school and the media are not the only places dominated by Marxist thought; even Catholic institutions are infected.
Of Families and Fortunes, and Inheritance Vs. Redistribution. Families and Fortunes are despised by Marxists, because Marxism demonizes the family, demonizes fortunes, and even demonizes profit.
Website Status Update 11/09/10. Just a Website status update; where we are and where we’re going.
Regarding the 2010 Tax Deal Pledge Breaker: Pledge? What Pledge? How can Republican deal makers even face us? We need to hang a Tea Party target on all professional politicians for 2012.
Pray for peace in Jerusalem, and for deliverance of Israel from harm. To pray for peace in Jerusalem is to pray for deliverance from Obama.
A tale of Promised Financial Melt-Down Debt Ceiling Nonsense and Happy Marxists. Everyone, on both sides, believes the Debt Ceiling Nonsense. Why?
Our Ohio voter Guide for the 2012 Election. The 2l012 Ohio Voter Guide – The Choices Have Never Been Clearer, or more critical.
Evangelization enters the animal kingdom with the first bear prayer. It is fitting that the first bear prayer would be a prayer of thanksgiving.
Is the Internet down in Lithuania? Sudden loss of Lithanian traffic suggests the internet is down in Lithuania.
The rise of the Femi Nazi Green Beret, and the decline of military victory. The first Femi Nazi Green Beret will be awarded out of fairness, not excellence.
Food Insurance: Is this stuff really any good? All of us conspiracy-theorizing, global-calamity doomsday-preppers need their Food Insurance.
We just had to try to do Robert Irvine's Plastic Wrapped Baby Back Ribs. Put plastic wrapped baby back ribs in the oven? What? Are you nuts?
Thoughts on the first Eucharist, established by the Last Supper. The first Eucharist was recognized by the Apostles for what it was on that holiest Holy Thursday.
Tea-Party-Candidates-04-18-2014. The Constitution is not going to be restored to legal preeminence unless we replace leadership incumbents of BOTH PARTIES.
Ecce homo; Behold the man. Ecce Homo. Behold the Innocent Lamb, who takes away the sins of the world.
When your system slows down or hangs, it's time for a Total System Reboot. America, the World, and even the Catholic Church may need a Total System Reboot.
If you can't find the page you're looking for, try the