Christ’s teachings open up the path to spiritual fulfilment and holiness, and by His divine power He does even more. At His hands even the tyranny of physical death is overcome. In the town of Nain He gave us a sign of that promise when He saw the only son of a widow being carried out for burial. The compassion of Christ’s Sacred Heart was stirred and He restored the dead son to life.

In serious illness, whether physical or mental, the sacrament of the sick is one of the ways in which Christ touches our soul to strengthen us spiritually for whatever lies ahead. In addition, Christian faith teaches us to try and see everything in this life as a preparation for our entry into the life hereafter. Keeping in mind our final destiny can help us to see even sickness and disability as an opportunity to grow and advance in the spiritual life.

What matters most is the relationship between our soul and our Maker. That relationship can flourish whatever the body or the mind have to suffer. Some of the most seriously handicapped people are also among the most spiritual. The ranks of the blessed in heaven will include people who in this life were well and fit, and also those who were not. All are invited to enter God’s Kingdom, those who find life in the body an uncomfortable burden as well as those who find it easy.

As the years pass, our aches and pains increase and ageing can certainly be a trial, but at the hour of our death all that will pass away. In the split second after we have died, when soul and body are separated, we shall realize with total and final clarity that our eternal destiny is of infinitely greater significance than our physical status during our short apprenticeship in this world.

By God’s grace, once our apprenticeship is over, we can enter upon a new life, an unimaginably better life, where pain and sickness are no more, where the clouds of earth’s sorrows are lifted at last. That is the life of the resurrection, and it is on offer to all who want it.

We have to want it.