Friends, in today’s Gospel, the Lord urges his disciples and us to be prudent servants, following his ways in anticipation of his coming again. Theologians often call prudence the queen of the virtues because it is the capacity to reign sovereignly over one’s life, both ordering one’s inner powers and directing one’s affairs wisely in the outside world.
Prudence is that sure touch, that moral instinct that renders one capable of making the right decision under pressure and in the face of complex circumstances. Prudence is a sort of accumulated theoretical and practical wisdom, a know-how that is for the most part instinctual, in the bones.
When placed in the Christian context, therefore, prudence is a feel for how Jesus would react, how he would think, how he would move in a particular situation. It is tantamount to having one’s soul gathered around Christ as its center, so that all one’s actions are informed by Jesus and his way of being in the world. Christian prudence comes from apprenticing to Christ—that is to say, moving in with him, watching at close quarters how he lives and moves and gestures.