Stand by me

hands_Flickr_JBenningerBeginning with All Saints’ Day and ending with the final leaves falling off the trees before winter, November is a fitting reminder that death is part of the cycle of life. During this month, many churches invite their parishioners to put pictures of deceased loved ones on display. November—somber, gray, and serious—calls us to reflect on how we can bring comfort to those in our midst who have suffered a loss. “Comfort the sorrowful” is one of the seven spiritual works of mercy.

Bring comfort by being present. Maria, mother of two teens, recalls her father’s example: “My dad was big on the spiritual works of mercy. He used to say to us growing up, and he still does, ‘If somebody is in a bind, or sad, or in need of something and you don’t know what to do—do something! Pick up the phone, say something, reach out, act. Show up.’ That to me is what comforting the sorrowful is—it’s showing up for those around us and building each other up.” Continue reading