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Cyrus Anthony wrote:

Hi, guys —

My wife left me four months ago for another man. Now she has cancer.

  • Is the cancer a warning from God to repent or is it just a coincidence?
  • If her cancer becomes severe and she wants to come back, must I suffer for her sin by taking her back?

If God gave us free will and the cancer is not a punishment, how are we to know if we offended God.

Cyrus

  { Is the cancer a warning from God to repent or is it just a coincidence? }

Mike replied:

Dear Cyrus,

Thanks for the question.

You said:
My wife left me four months ago for another man. Now she has cancer.

  • Is the cancer a warning from God to repent or is it just a coincidence?

I found a good reply to a similar question in the Catholic Answers forum.

The answer said:

No, God does not punish in that respect. But there are consequences for our sinful acts. A sexually immoral person may contract AIDS but that is the consequence of his action and not a punishment from God. We either turn towards God or turn away from Him. When we turn away we willfully enter the darkness and it is there where we fall. The consequence for original sin is physical death but there again it is not a punishment for even Jesus had to die.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church also says:

The punishments of sin

1472 To understand this doctrine and practice of the Church, it is necessary to understand that sin has a double consequence. Grave sin deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life, the privation of which is called the eternal punishment of sin. On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the temporal punishment of sin.

These two punishments must not be conceived of as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very nature of sin. A conversion which proceeds from a fervent charity can attain the complete purification of the sinner in such a way that no punishment would remain.

(cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1712-1713; (1563): 1820)


1473 The forgiveness of sin and restoration of communion with God entail the remission of the eternal punishment of sin, but temporal punishment of sin remains. While patiently bearing sufferings and trials of all kinds and, when the day comes, serenely facing death, the Christian must strive to accept this temporal punishment of sin as a grace. He should strive by works of mercy and charity, as well as by prayer and the various practices of penance, to put off completely the old man and to put on the new man. (Ephesians 4:22-24)

The crosses in our lives are purifying crosses for our souls for the remaining temporal punishment of forgiven sin.

You said:

  • If her cancer becomes severe and she wants to come back, must I suffer for her sin by taking her back?

In Marriage, the spiritual goal should be working to get the other spouse into Heaven. Although I'm sure you have been extremely hurt by her affair, you have to pray and ask the Lord for a forgiving heart. If she comes back, I recommend you and your wife talk to a priest about your situation and marriage.

I hope this helps,

Mike

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