My life as a Brother: Second Year Post-Novitiate Apostolic Community Experience

I am now in the middle of a Young Marist Brothers Gathering we call as the TPBIAM (Temporary Professed Brothers in Active Ministry). We are composed of fifteen brothers and even one of us will have his perpetual profession of vows on September 2.

I am now in my second year of apostolate and it’s good to look back how I have adjusted last year, my first year of full-time teaching, and how I have progressed so far in terms of handling students inside the classroom and all the added responsibilities this year.

As teachers would tell us aspiring teachers, the first year of teaching would be learning proper classroom management. My experience would tell me that it is indeed true.

Until now, I still can’t believe that I am actually teaching. It was never part of my dream to be a teacher. But because I aspired to become a Marist Brother, which I am now, teaching became part of my life.

This year, I am proud that I am waking up early in the morning that I can finally receive the Eucharistic daily before I begin my day. I used to do it last year in my first two months but I eventually stay up late in the evening or even past midnight just preparing for my lessons unless I get preoccupied with something that’s not essential in front of the computer like watching movies or television series. I still stay up late at times but I find it hard to do it these past few weeks because of busyness that I have no more energy to spend. If I do an evening run, that would make my bedtime earlier. In terms of my devotion to the Holy Eucharist, I think I am fine this year. I admit sometimes it is hard to wake up in the morning but still I try my best to walk to the Cathedral. I think it’s for the love of Jesus in the breaking of the bread—his body, blood, soul, and divinity.

Because I love numbers, let me count: 250 students, three different subjects, three year levels, one advisory class, one coaching/moderator, and one coordinator responsibility. Thinking all about this, I am overwhelmed how I still manage toget my free time. I let go of Facebook just because of these. Of course my free time should be spent on reading additional resources, praying, or just spending time for rest and/or exercise. This year, my free time is not an issue; how to fulfill all the responsibilities is the main concern of my apostolate.

They say charity begins at home. I am proud to say that my present community is a source of life and inspiration for me. We are four brothers in the community and if I count the novice and aspirant we have in our house, that makes us six all in all. All of us come from four different generations, birthplaces, hobbies, and personalities. I think the only thing we have in common is our love for Jesus and Mary, His Mother.

I know I am cutting my story short but I hope you’ll understand that I am already sleepy and I havr to rest because it’s Sunday tomorrow and we still have a session tomorrow. Cheers!

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How to cure loneliness?

There is one Scripture passage that I really like which quotes Jesus as saying, “foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head” (Mt. 8:20). Since I was in high school, I really feel unique and different from my classmates and friends due to my temperament, intellect, social status, and choice of hobbies. It bothered me even in college. When I entered novitiate, I just realized that one of my motivations in joining religious life is to belong to a community. Aside from prayer and ministry with young people, community life is one of our pillars as Marist Brothers and as religious. When it comes to these three, though I have been a Marist for five years (from Pre-Novitiate and not counting my school years), I am still inexperienced particularly when it comes to community living.

Last Saturday, I flew from Marikina to Mindanao for the annual retreat of the Marist Brothers in Malaybalay. As of the moment, though I know already my next assignment, I feel like I will just pass by the places I will go into. Like the comment of my former swimming teacher, I am like a soldier whose assignment changes a lot. After the structures of novitiate and scholasticate, I am beginning to feel again what it’s like to be a “nowhere boy”, a pilgrim, or an itinerant.

When I was in high school and in college, I feel often being “out of place”. Before, it has been a cause of stress and depression for me. Now, it doesn’t bother me anymore. Yes, I’m feeling a bit lonely now. But when you have these Brothers at your side (well, they are in their respective rooms now), who also feel lonely at times as a result of being religious, I feel that there’s somebody who is in solidarity with me; there is someone who, like me, struggles. Before, I don’t even acknowledge that I am lonely maybe because I am not aware of it. Now, I am not ashamed of acknowledging it. I must be aware of it or else it will manifest in many ways (e.g. how I relate, attachment to pets, tardiness, etc.).

I don’t really know how to cure loneliness. But I believe that contact with reality is a step towards getting out of it. I can be somewhere but I choose to be here.

Now I know why I was too drawn to anime when I was in college. Anime has been my escape from reality; it is my escape from my loneliness. I don’t discourage myself watching anime but I have to catch myself whether I’m just  escaping.

To be alone can be frightening. But aloneness can also be a source of peace. And if that happens, that means solitude. When I realize that my happiness does not depend on someone or something (or somewhere), then that’s when I choose to be happy.

I felt lonely because I depend on the approval of others. Let me be true to myself. And for me, this is what it means not to lay my head elsewhere.

Sunday Reflection: How a water drum inspired me

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Introduction: This is the first time I will post a Lectio Divina (Diving Reading) Reflection. As a Marist young Brother, I don’t give sermons. But like a teacher (or a future teacher), I can give my personal experiences. I’ll do it the WordPress way. Just pardon my English. Continue reading