In the Bible, the First Book of Kings chapter three and four speaks about King Solomon and the greatness of his rule. He had a strong administrative structure. The army was also very strong and he was sovereign over all other neighboring kingdoms. During his rule we don’t read about any war and blood shedding. His greatest achievement was the building of magnificent temple of Jerusalem. The reason for all his success and greatness is attributed to his wisdom. When he began his rule he made this beautiful prayer to God for wisdom:
Lord my God you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child……Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil. (I Kings 3:7-9).
In the Christian tradition wisdom is understood as virtue of prudence. The virtue of prudence helps us not only to distinguish what is good from what is bad, it also helps us to know what is really “good” and recognize its worth. It disposes the reason to discern our true good in every circumstance. Like the merchant in Gospel “who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it” (Mt 13:46), it helps us to distinguish what is essential from what is non-essential.
For St. Thomas Aquinas prudence is “right reason in action”. According to St. Ignatius Loyola, “Prudence has two eyes, one that foresees what one has to do, the other that examines afterward what one has done.” It is prudence which help us to set the right goals and to choose the best means of attaining them.
According to St. Vincent, to be wise and prudent is to decide and to act as “Wisdom of God” decided, and acted when it was earth as Man. In other words, in Jesus we have the fullness wisdom. He is our perfect way, truth and life. As Vincentian two questions which will help us to be prudent in our decision and action is always to ask: what Jesus would like me to do? And what the poor would like me to do?
Tags: Binoy Puthusery