There have been times where most of us have been called to sit with someone in their loss and suffering. This has always been very difficult for me, because there is a desire to say the perfect rational thing that will alleviate all the pain and suffering of the person I am sitting with. I have yet to find a phrase that does this. And at times the searching for this phrase brings not hope, but disappointment. I have been asked to sit in solidarity, not fix the problem of the pain and absence.

I have found St. Paul’s assurance that “the love of God has been poured into our hearts,” to be an important reminder on this feast of All Souls when I am called upon to sit with those who mourn. It is the Love of God I should rely on, not words or phrases. The truth is that comforting those around me is an act of the heart, not a cerebral one.

—Griffin Knipp serves as Campus Minister and Coordinator of Student Life at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Milwaukee WI.