Jesus Ascending into Heaven by William Pole
"If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory." Colossians 3:1-4
As we age, the body starts to give out on us. It can be depressing to see the sagging face in the mirror, to bear the aches, pains and fatigues of age. Enduring disease and illness is a difficult trial to say the least. All these sufferings can be borne with patience with God's help and grace if we ask Him. I am of the belief that physical, emotional and spiritual suffering, especially towards the end of life serve the purpose of turning the soul away from the earth to Heaven, from this life to the next.
We have heard said that no earthly attachments may enter Heaven - all must be purified. The Lord gives us these difficult trials as a mercy, a veritable balm for our worldliness. This suffering can also reduce the strong to childlike dependence, often breaking our pride and making us more amenable to God's grace. Let us pray often for the grace to bear our sufferings with patience. Pray not for deliverance from our burdens, but rather a stronger back with which to bear them. Amen+