“Ask a Priest: My Husband Is Dying. Is This God’s Vengeance on Me?”

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Q: I walked away from my religious vocation years ago and ended up getting married (much later) to a wonderful, loving man. Now my husband is dying of cancer, and I’ll be a widow with no family. Could this be happening to me because I turned my back on God so many years ago? – H.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: I’m sorry to hear about your husband. It must be heartbreaking to see him suffer.

You shouldn’t see his illness, however, as a divine act of vengeance.

God respected your free will when you didn’t pursue religious life. And he respected your free will when you married.

This might simply be a case where you are learning in a very sobering way that marriage, too, has its crosses.

Lots of wives who never felt a call to religious life also have to tearfully watch their husbands struggling with terminal illnesses. Couples are no strangers to suffering.

This is a moment to intensify your prayers and support for your spouse. Pray that both of you make it to heaven.

And even if marriage wasn’t God’s perfect will for you, it can still be a path to holiness if you live it well.

Count on my prayers for you and your husband.


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One Comment
  1. Dear Father ~ I very much appreciate your response to this woman who wrote in about her husband dying of cancer (my prayers go out for them both).
    Many years ago, I too faced losing my dearest Michael, who was suffering the ill effects of Agent Orange (for over 20 years) until he finally passed away in August, 2014.
    I prayed for him; I offered novenas; I had Masses said; I did as much as I possibly could do for him…doctor’s appointments, hospital stays, had our parish Priests visit him, etc.
    I say all this ~ not to boast, of course ~ but to reiterate what you have told this woman who now is going through much of what I went through all those years ago. I hope she takes your advice and sees this sad time as a time to grow in her Faith and her own suffering ~ which is more mental and spiritual than the physical suffering of her husband ~ will be an offering to Almighty God for her husband’s safe passing when his time comes and also for the graces that come to her own soul to be taken advantage of with submission and hope that they will be both be together again someday in Heaven.
    A Priest once told me that he believed that I “kept my husband alive a good five years longer than would have been possible 100 years ago” with all my prayers and helping him get to appointments, etc etc…and ~ as much as I appreciated what he said ~ in my own heart I believe it was God’s blessing upon the two of us that everything we went through was meant to give Him honor and to help us submit finally to His will.
    Please pray for us widows (and widowers) out here who are trying our best, who want to believe in God’s justice and mercy, and who want to do only His will.
    God bless you, Father…keep up this column please!! I am learning SO much from reading your responses…and I pray for you as well.

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