Fourth Day: PRUDENCE
Prudence: is the virtue that disposes reason to discern our true good in every circumstance, and to choose the right means of achieving it. It guides the judgment of conscience. “Test the spirit to see whether they belong to God.” (1John 4:1)
REFLECTION: For one steadily growing in spiritual maturity, there is the disposition to transcend the resolve to be/do good, and to aspire for what is better. From the record of Mother Ignacia’s decisions as an adult Christian, one sees the exercise towards what is better, great, more: in what St. Ignatius referred to as the magis option. This option she applied to almost every aspect of the life of the foundational community, to become imbedded in the spiritual legacy of the religious family she gave life to.

The initial concept of consecrated life as envisioned by the young Ignacia included a life of austerity expressed in acts of penance and physical mortification. Her biographer noted that she and her early followers practiced severe acts of penance that they learned from the lives of saints, spent long hours of prayer that sometimes deprived them of the necessary rest at night, to the point that most of them succumbed to illness. It was the virtue of prudence that enlightened these well-intentioned women to perceive that the “service of His Majesty” called for apostolic action which would be hindered by the physical disability that resulted from their extreme penances. When the Rules of 1726 was designed, prudence dictated that moderation in the practice of physical penances in the lifestyle of the foundational community, else the members be rendered incapable of the ministry to which they were called. “In mortification and corporal penances they should observe moderation, discretion and temperance in order to preserve their good habits while the body is still strong. The Spanish proverb ‘walks a step in order to last’ should encourage the beatas not to be indiscreet in her corporal austerity which results in the weakening of the body.” (1726.I:7.)

Prudence likewise dictated that interaction with “secular persons” be regulated in order that the wiles of worldliness not dilute the religious fervor of the beatas, all for the greater service of God.

PRAYER: God, our loving Father, You have gifted your handmaid, Ignacia with openness to the direction of the Holy Spirit. We ask You to grant our petitions, through her intercession, and specially to gift us with docility to Your will at all times. GLORY BE…
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