It’s easy to intellectualize moral and ethical problems (including political ones), as though reflection would be adequate to see the solution to the problem. Interestingly, we don’t think this will work for anything else we do: no one thinks that the usual problems that one has with playing piano or quarterback call for us to go reflect or study more music theory or football strategy, or to think more about what we should do when we are playing. This is not just a matter of training mere physical muscle movement- lawyers and teachers and mechanics need to practice what they do too. Doing anything is mostly a matter of doing it somehow badly, or at least very imperfectly for some amount of time, and we depend not so much on theory to solve difficult cases (though this certainly can play a role) but more on a person who’s done the activity more times than we have. As a rule, mentors and role models play a more important and formal role in learning how to do things than theory and reflection, even if both are essential.
This cultivated and practiced experience of dealing with moral problems, which is formed from being imperfectly moral for a good amount of time while seeking counsel and role models, and which has been perfected over time to the point where one internalizes his role models and takes pleasure in acting spontaneously as they would act, is what St. Thomas calls prudence or wisdom. This virtue is at the heart of his moral theory, notwithstanding all the repeated claims that he is a “natural law” theorist.