44 Days of St. Joseph – April 2 – Joseph Most Prudent

Prudence is the ability to see what the good is in a concrete situation, and then to act accordingly.

There is, then, an interesting overlap between the life of virtue and the life of skilled, manual work.

There is, after all, a sense in which being a skilled tradesman is synonymous with having “creative prudence”—knowing the right thing to do in a given, creative situation and then being able to do it. Without this skill, the house falls down.

As St. Joseph was a skilled craftsman, he would know that the goodness of his work would always require a concrete manifestation—even if he worked in stone or wood. 😉 He wouldn’t make much money selling excellent “notions” of good things to be built. They’d have to take concrete form.

Notice the difference between an abstract notion of the good (theoretical, distant, unassailable, “idea-without-application”) and the vision of the good brought by prudence (practical, proximate, concrete, particular, skilled, “word-made-flesh”).

How much more was St. Joseph’s natural and experiential prudence made perfect by having Goodness Himself take up Flesh (how much more concrete than that?!) and move into his home (how much more proximate than that?!)?

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