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Give the gift of peace this Christmas


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Magnús Sannleikur - published on 12/08/21

This year, consider the gift of teaching someone how to meditate the Catholic way without going on retreat at an isolated monastery.

Gift-giving is a difficult, delicate art. It is easy to relate with the experience Ralph Waldo Emerson describes in his noted essay, Gifts: “it is always so pleasant to be generous […] But the impediment lies in the choosing. If, at any time, it comes into my head that a present is due from me to somebody, I am puzzled what to give, until the opportunity is gone.”

This is especially true of Christmas giving. Yes, the sight of gifts by the tree is indeed lovely and enjoyable —not to say something to be truly grateful for. But it is also the case that one might end up not being able to see the Christmas tree for the forest of gifts, so to speak. On the one hand, the temptation to enter some compulsive, mindless shopping spree is oftentimes too hard to handle. On the other, one might feel utterly unable to choose that gift we think our loved one will truly appreciate. Gift-giving, like any other art, is hard to master.

Emerson goes on to say that “rings and other jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only gift is a portion of thyself.” Of course, this is not to be taken literally (as if you had to show up with the proverbial pound of flesh wrapped in some fancy gift box). “The poet,” Emerson explains, “brings his poem; the shepherd, his lamb; the farmer, corn; the miner, a gem; the sailor, coral and shells; the painter, his picture; the girl, a handkerchief of her own sewing. This is right and pleasing.” So, what would a Catholic bring?

Sure enough, bread and wine are always good things to share. But this year, consider the gift of teaching someone how to meditate the Catholic way without necessarily going on retreat at an isolated monastery. Enter Hallow.

Hallow is the leading Catholic prayer and meditation app. Indeed, it is the most downloaded Catholic app in the world right now. It has helped around one million people deepen their relationship with God through audio-guided prayer, bible readings, meditations, and music. In case you were wondering, yes, it can even help you sleep better.

Most people ignore that there is such a thing as Christian meditation. In fact, plenty of Christians still wonder how meditation fits within their religion (if it fits at all). But it turns out meditation has been part of Christianity since its very inception. It is a practice that not only monks, nuns, and ascetics have engaged in for (literally) millennia. It is also a tradition that has been perfected and enriched by saints and mystics over the centuries. And Hallow somehow manages to gather it all.

Considering Christian meditation has been practiced for 2000 years, it is not surprising that the app includes around 3.000 different sessions. It features a Daily Rosary, the Daily Gospel, Saint of the Day, Novenas, Fr. Mike Schmitz’s Bible in a Year, Jonathan Roumie’s (yes, the actor playing Jesus in The Chosen) Audio Bible, Bishop Barron’s Sunday Sermons, a perfectly curated selection of Christian music, Gregorian Chant, Sleep Bible Stories, and much more. Indeed, it covers most spiritual traditions in Catholicism, from Carmelite contemplation to Benedictine lectio divina, Jesuitic examens included.

So, give this Christmas the gift of peace: the app is available in the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, and Amazon App Store. For more information, feel free to visit

This article has been brought to you in partnership with Hallow.

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