On Ash Wednesday, which begins the Christian season of Lent, presidential candidate Joe Biden participated in a CNN town hall. Remnants of ashes—a public declaration of penitent faith—could be seen on Biden’s forehead as he spoke to a minister whose wife was murdered in the Charleston church shooting. “I happen to be a practicing Catholic,” Biden said, visibly moved. He quoted a phrase from the theologian Søren Kierkegaard that gives him hope in times of grief: “Faith sees best in the dark.” The quotation became particularly comforting after his son Beau died, he told Stephen Colbert in 2015. And it’s a quote that the former vice president has repeated many times on the campaign trail.