A Message on Prudence
My wife’s recent knee replacement surgery has reminded me of a word not often used, but one that is part of the meaning of the SAR Cross. Prudence. A recent President often used that word, “Prudent”. I had to refresh my memory on that seldom used but needed term. Prudence means to be wise in practical affairs by providing for the future, discretion, regard for one’s own interests, careful management of resources, economy, or frugality. We need all of these as we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic especially, but all through our lives in reality. Many of us need this as we handle our resources for retirement. Further, it is what the “ExCom” displayed and used constantly as it wrestled with the decision to cancel this year’s Congress.
Our founding fathers used it as they debated and hammered out the Declaration of Independence, the Bil of Rights, and the Constitution of the newly formed country. General George Washington constantly had to ask the question “is it PRUDENT?” to make a military move with the resources that were available. He had to consider very carefully what the outcome might be. One night at Valley Forge, The General had written a letter of resignation to the Continental Congress. Then overhearing his men talking outside his tent, he realized that it was not prudent to send the letter. So, instead, he warmly greeted several men who were gathered around the fire outside his tent, and then he cast the letter into the fire.
We have numerous phrases that help us to be prudent in our daily affairs and conversations but we do not always use and follow them. We ‘put the cart before the horse,’ and ‘open mouth insert foot’ often! Our great and loving creator has given us excellent instructions all through the Book of Proverbs. God tells us in Prov 14:15 that “the naive believes everything, but the sensible (prudent) man considers his steps.” General Washington had to do this often, otherwise, the army would be destroyed and the objective, Freedom from tyranny, would be lost forever.
If we follow the same advice and watch “our steps” more carefully, how we live our lives, our changing attitudes and emotions and what we think is important, the habits we develop, we can watch that we do not get sucked into the world’s ways and all the madding hype from constant exposure to the media. Our Lord has said to “Seek first God’s Kingdom and His righteousness (not the kingdom and things of the world), then all these things (all that you need) will be added to you.” It is prudent for us to consider our eternal future as we make choices about what is and is not important in this life. Prudence is one of the four core values represented by the SAR Cross.
From the office of Chaplain General