A fool despises his father's instruction: but he that regards reproof is prudent.
Read Chapter 15
Basil the Great
True prudence is the knowledge of what to do and what not to do. One who possesses it never refrains from virtuous works and is never pierced by the deadly arrow of vice. Thus, he who understands words of prudence knows the difference between what is insidious, structured for deception, and what reminds us quietly about the best way to live life. Like the good practice of a banker, he will retain what is good and abstain from every form of evil. Grant such prudence to the builder of his house, that he would lay its foundation upon rock, that is, support it on faith in Christ, so that it will remain unmoved when the winds and rains and thunderstorms attack. For the Lord teaches us through this parable to remain immovable in the presence of temptations, both those of human and also of supernatural origin. Beyond this, he teaches us not to neglect the necessary things, but, having been equipped for the journey of life, to anticipate the coming of the bridegroom with eager hearts.
Prudence is that quality by which all things are accomplished through skillful industry, in the same way that malice is that quality whereby only evil is perpetrated. Because, therefore, every activity admits prudence and because evils likewise occur in all things, the name of prudence signifies two realities. Whoever uses cleverness and skill for the destruction of others is evil, but one who acts cleverly and shrewdly to avoid the harm that others have in store for him, directly and wisely detecting his own good, possesses a prudence that is worthy of praise. Attend diligently, therefore, to the voice of the prudent soul, and you will know that it contains a center in which the prudence which uses healthy counsel for its own benefit and that of its neighbor is to be praised. But the prudence which applies itself to the neighbor’s detriment, using its faculties for the purpose of destruction, becomes liable to condemnation.