This past week in my virtue challenge I focused on the virtue of prudence. Prudence is a “pivotal virtue that disposes us to discern what is good in a real-life situation and to choose the best means for obtaining it. Prudence empowers us to make sound, practical decisions that help us achieve our goals.” (Dear Prudence).
Well, in my quest to grow virtue, life has been kind enough to give me a challenge in the last seven days that would test me in prudence. I was asked by a certain young man to go visit him at Madonna House in Combermere. For you Catholics out there reading this, you might think, ohhhh, that’s nice. A young lad wants to get to know you better in a wholesome Catholic environment.
I’m quoting my spiritual director here: “It’s not immoral to go, but is it the best thing?” Bless him. He’s so full of wisdom. He never quite tells me what to do, but has a way of making me realize what it is I ought to do (I guess what I’m saying is that my spiritual director directs me spiritually, bingo). Also, my spiritual director used to live with Saint Josémaria. How cool is that? We often forget that the saints are much closer to us than we realize (go check out 263 of Evangelii Gaudium and then come back here).
Breakdown of the elements of a prudent act according to Leon J. Suprenant:
(1) deliberation—taking account of all the relevant principles, facts, alternatives, etc.
(2) judgment—coming to a sound decision
(3) execution—implementing the decision
Here’s why it’s not the best thing for me to go:
1) The facts: This young man has told me he feels called to seminary. He’s also told me he’s attracted to me. I’m attracted to him as well.
2) Judgment: Although Combermere is a safe place to potentially start a courtship, would my going there be of any help in this young man’s discernment? No. A longing for human affection is normal, but God does not call us to be governed by our emotions/feelings. If this young man is truly being called to seminary, spending time with a girl for which he feels attraction is going to make that call harder to accept. I really do not want to be responsible for making someone disobey God’s call. If not only for that reason, I need to guard my heart. I can honestly say that I would be unable to spend a week with this young man and not grow attached and give him part of my heart.
3) I told the Registrar at Madonna House that I wouldn’t be visiting after all. I’m writing a letter to send to the young man explaining why I won’t be visiting (it’ll be quite similar to this post).
Bam. Week 3 of my virtue challenge completed.