MAY 5, 2020

The so-called “Cardinal Virtues,” as given to us by the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, were defined as: “ Wisdom (Prudence), Courage, Temperance, and Justice.”

Their formation was interpretive and descriptive of ethical conduct (rather than innate qualities present from our birth) and, as such, were thought to be achieved through intention, training, and discipline.

Prudence (or Wisdom) is crucial at this point in our corporate life as we are dealing with the COVID-19 Virus across Florida 37,000 infected and 1,400 dead in this state alone (as of 5/2/2020).

The COVID-19 pandemic is testing us in ways we could not have imagined on New Year’s Day 2020, just five short months ago. The cost has been horrific: in human lives, in our state economy, and our social habits. The toll is enormous, and it continues to grow exponentially.

But, during this crisis, one thing has sustained us: our faith in Jesus Christ. Yes, our Christian faith serves as a source of light, strength, and hope even as the COVID-19 Virus marches through Florida, presently attacking people of every socio-economic stratum. Tragically, there has been an enormous toll exacted upon America’s vulnerable nursing homes. More than 11,000 older adults have died in nursing homes or other health care facilities across this country since January 2020.

The 5/5/2020 report prepared by Florida’s Health Department revealed that 410 out of 73,000 elderly persons living in Florida’s nursing homes have died of COVID-19. Many more could be at further danger during the remainder of this pandemic. The death rates in these Florida facilities are part of the national tragedy as the root cause may be the lack of personal protective equipment and rapid testing for employees and residents alike. Even more shocking is the fact that neither our State Government or Congress have taken definitive action to protect the health and safety of nursing home employees and their vulnerable residents.

A life of prayer feeds us Christians. Our relationship with Christ Jesus is the source and human response to the fact that we believe that the central things in life remain invisible. As such, we can very easily overlook them by our inattention, our business, and our constant distraction. 

Due to the sin of self-love, there has emerged an unwillingness or inability to care for others over self.  A person cannot be prudent or wise unless that person can  care , love, and fight for social justice. Carelessness, and our lack of respect for others, hurts our society more than anything else. 

We must reach deep within our souls during this delicate season between sequestering at home and a return to in-person gatherings. We must be attentive, not so much to our own needs as to the needs of others. Our personal growth in Christian virtues, especially this virtue of prudence, is the key to changing the self-centered culture.  

Recently Bishop Peter Eaton of Southeast Florida shared a prayer written by Eric Milner-White, an Anglican, that speaks primarily about growth in Christian life and reminds us of the work we all still need to do:

“O God, allow me never to think
that I know enough to need
no further teaching, Wisdom enough to need
no correction, talents enough to need no grace,
goodness enough to need no progress,
humility enough to need no repentance,
devotion enough to need no quickening,
strength sufficient without thy Spirit,
lest standing still, I fall back forever.”  Amen.

Stay Strong. Be safe. Pray Constantly.
Fr. Charles Cannon+