Divine Retribution?


#1

If something bad happens to me, could it be punishment, because of God’s punishment? Something I have done to offend God, such as working unnecessarily on Sunday, or missing Mass? I also know of famous people who scorned God in public, who subsequently died a violent death.

I was wondering, is divine retribution a teaching of the Catholic Church?

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#2

no, your divine retribution will come after death when you are judged on your whole life, when you will be given full knowledge and be asked to choose God or reject Him for all eternity. If you reject him, you will consign yourself to hell. I suggest you seek out an orthodox Catholic bible study and stop listening to people who are filling you with these ideas.

When something bad happens to you or anybody else it can have several causes: the natural consequences of sin, your own sin or somebody else’s sin. You shoot somebody and end up in jail where you are gang raped or gunned down in a prison riot. A guy leaves a bar drunk, hops in his car and mows you down. An anonymous terrorist attacks your country and causes you to be blown up, deprived of your loved ones, or drafted into the army.

Another cause is natural consequences of actions, your own or someone else’s, that are not sinful, but are stupid because we know they have natural consequences. You eat junk food, treat your body like a sewer and have a heart attack. your buddy tries to make your burgers cook faster by dousing the charcoal with lighter fluid.

A third cause is the old, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and being in the way of natural consequences of natural processes that are morally neutral. Hurricanes happen in hurricane zones, so if you live there long enough you will suffer the bad effects of a hurricane. It is nobody’s fault (not even GWB’s), it just happens in the course of nature.

Another source of bad experiences comes when we set ourselves up to fail. A woman consistently dates losers and ends up in destructive relationships. A man refuses to leave the comforts of living at home where his mother babies him, and complains because he has no wife and family. A young person refuses to study, work and pursue a higher education, and languishes in a job going nowhere.

God does not sit up on a cloud dreaming up malicious pranks to play on you. What he does do is give you the opportunity to turn every apparent evil experience in your life into a chance for good, for spiritual growth closer to him, a chance to do good for yourself or someone else, but a positive good, if you operate in a climate of trust in him and reliance on divine providence.


#3

That notion would seem to go against a loving and merciful father. God sent us His only son to die for our sins so He wouldn’t have to rule us with an iron fist. If something bad happens to you its becasue something bad happened to you. Was God involved? It’s His universe so I would say yes. Was it retribution? IMHO, no. I’ve been through hell and back, but my experience gave me more wisdom than I had before the bad event. When bad things happen the question you can ask isn’t “why me?” but rather “how can I use this for God’s glory?” Now, at some point you will have to make an accounting for your life, but even there God gave us this beautiful sacrament of reconcilliation and this clensing place called Purgatory.

If you’re looking for a spiritual cause for evil, you need look no further than the devil. He distorts, perverts, corrupts the good into evil.


#4

But could even a merciful and loving Father see the need to disipline his children at times?. I’m not saying he’s sitting on a cloud thinking of pranks to play on me.

Could painful events sometimes be a kind of warning, so that people can change their ways before they die and are held accountable?

As an example, a few years ago I decided to work overtime on Sundays. This was not really necessary, I did it for the money,. The Catholic Catechism holds that unnecessary work on the Lord’s day is wrong.

Shortly after I started doing this overtime on Sundays, I went through one of the worst professional periods of my life at work, very stressful and full of failure, causing me much emotional turmoil and grief.

I no longer work on Sundays now, and my job is stable and fulfilling again.

Now I’m not saying that my career went through that downward spiral because God was displeased, but who knows? I have not been able to find anything in the Catholic Catechism one way or another about this.


#5

[quote=Maverick]If something bad happens to me, could it be punishment, because of God’s punishment?

[/quote]

Yes, of course.

[quote=puzzleannie]no, your divine retribution will come after death when you are judged on your whole life, when you will be given full knowledge and be asked to choose God or reject Him for all eternity… stop listening to people who are filling you with these ideas.

[/quote]

But God does punish us also in this life for sins, either to correct us, warn us, or bear someone else’s failings, etc.

Right, and sin is punished by God in various ways, whether by fellow men, devils, or nature, etc.

But you seem to make it out that it has nothing to do with God’s justice. I believe you are underemphasizing this aspect.

How wrong you are! Not a leaf falls to the ground without God allowing it. We suffer not only for our own sins, but also those of our neighbor. Even writings from the saints attest to this whole concept. Sometimes we suffer because God is going to bring glory out of it. But it would be wrong to conclude that it is never God’s justice against our own sins.

This is good advice. But keep the following in mind:

1 Peter 2:20 For what glory is it, if committing sin, and being buffeted for it, you endure? But if doing well you suffer patiently; this is thankworthy before God.

[quote=Maverick]But could even a merciful and loving Father see the need to disipline his children at times?

[/quote]

Yes.

Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth, he chastiseth; and he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 Persevere under discipline. God dealeth with you as with his sons; for what son is there, whom the father doth not correct? 8 But if you be without chastisement, whereof all are made partakers, then are you bastards, and not sons.

Yes.

Psalms 59:6 Thou hast given a warning to them that fear thee: that they may flee from before the bow: That thy beloved may be delivered.

Thanks be to God.

I hope this confirms your belief. I only had a short amount of time for this post.

hurst


#6

Thanks, Hurst, your post was quite insightful and thought provoking, and tends to affirm my prior beliefs. Perhaps more answers to my question can be found in the Bible compared to the Cathechism of the Catholic Church.


#7

[quote=Maverick]Thanks, Hurst, your post was quite insightful and thought provoking, and tends to affirm my prior beliefs. Perhaps more answers to my question can be found in the Bible compared to the Cathechism of the Catholic Church.
[/quote]

I’m glad to be of some help. :slight_smile: I would recommend reading more lives of saints, because they are a good example of how to live the Gospel in accord with the Church and in a manner pleasing to God.

hurst


#8

[quote=Maverick]Could painful events sometimes be a kind of warning, so that people can change their ways before they die and are held accountable?
Now I’m not saying that my career went through that downward spiral because God was displeased, but who knows? I have not been able to find anything in the Catholic Catechism one way or another about this.
[/quote]

sure, God can do anything he wants for any reason, and may directly intervene in your life for the good of your soul. a more common explanation might also be that the company which required Sunday work was so badly managed and operated on such an immoral basis that sooner or later bad things were bound to happen to the company and its employees. I think it is most probably that God allows the bad effects of the choices and actions made by persons and institutions to follow their natural course, because we learn from the results. Like we know there are commandments against divorce and adultery. God allows the bad effects of those actions to wake us up to the evil of our ways. Which is not quite the same as saying he directly caused the bad effects.


#9

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