As I attempt to write this article, I’m immediately reminded of how much I struggle with writing. From the whiny cries of second-grade me attempting to develop a story, to attempting to articulate my thoughts in my graduate school education courses, I’ve never had that natural, raw gift of writing. However, I write this piece with ease knowing that my husband, Alex, will open his laptop this Advent and find my posted blog entry. I now find that my fingers cannot move fast enough.
I met Alex at the very beginning of our junior year at Notre Dame. He instantly captured my interest with his quick wit, generous heart, and hard work ethic. As our relationship – and later engagement and marriage- grew, so did our faith life together.
But it wasn’t until he devoted his life to starting and running Hallow that I truly saw our faith life thrive. It was such a focused and transformative experience. The creation of Hallow has strengthened our marriage in two ways:
1. I rediscovered my own Catholic faith
Growing up, I honestly considered myself somewhat of an expert in Catholicism. I was raised by two devout Catholic parents (one of whom is a Catholic school teacher), went to Catholic school, and knew the basics regarding all things “church” – sacraments, liturgical calendars, songs, and prayers.
However, as Hallow began to take off, I began to see how much I didn’t know about my faith. Yes, I had memorized prayers, but had I ever reflected on their meanings? Yes, I had received the sacraments, but why was that something we Catholics do? And what are these meditations that my husband keeps mentioning?
It was only when I truly asked and discussed honest questions with Alex that I realize how much more room I had to grow in my Catholic faith. I was baffled by how much more there was to Catholicism, from saints I’d never heard of, to attending adoration simply to sit in silence with God. My self-proclaimed expert title began to melt away.
The Hallow praylists challenged me. The guests sessions engaged me. The Lectio Divinas and Examens changed me. I now see my marriage and my husband with so much more love and sacred devotion.
2. I have fallen in love with my husband all over again
I think it’s safe to say that watching the joy of a loved one doing something they love is deeply moving. The same is true for how I feel about Alex. At times, I have peered up from grading my fifth graders’ homework to look over at him. With his laser-focused concentration and hands flying across his keyboard as he works on Hallow, I feel a sense of peace wash over me. I smile to myself as I look to this man who I fell in love with all these years ago.
Alex taught me how we can use the power of prayer in our marriage. We now frequently pray Night Prayer before bed. We discuss our daily highs and lows more openly. We attend daily mass during Advent. We make our marriage a priority.
And I owe it all to God.
Alex, the work you and the Hallow team have done definitely has God smiling down on you. Keep up the great work, and keep changing lives as much as you have changed mine.