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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Choose life

The last post I had was an emotional one. I was feeling that way for a long time that I just want to let it out. I haven’t told anyone yet about my struggles this year. Knowing me well, I start to be in touch with those kinds of emotions when I am alone. At least I have the time to feel sorrow when I could have just feel numb by binge-watching on a television series.

As I have written before, this semester is a busy one. I’m just lucky that this Thursday morning, I have no classes to teach I might as well spend it in writing this post. Once I’m done with this, I’ll be back checking papers to clear out pending tasks. At least I have the time to even focus on checking them though I rush a bit at times.

I read somewhere that we experience certain kinds of “deaths” in life. There’s something in me that’s needs dying so probably that’s what I am experiencing right now. I am blessed to even take a pause in between the busyness. At least I have the time to experience different “deaths”.

I wanted to finish reading a book. I started reading The Fellowship of the Ring by Tolkien and Sacred Fire by Ronald Rolheiser but I can’t get past Chapter 2. But at least I have time to write about wanting to finish reading them.

I bought those books when I travelled to Marikina twice last June and July. I have a home visit last June 20 to 25 and co-facilitated in the Coaching Module of MAPAC last July 8 to 15. It is good to just spend a while with your family; and, it is good to meet new people who shows passion for sports and education. I am blessed to have the time for family visit and co-facilitate in developing coaching skills every year.

Maybe, when I look back, I will just laugh at myself for acting the way I am reacting now. Like the song of Urbandub’s Soul Searching says, choose life. As for me, I choose to spend time thanking God for all the blessings I received despite the hardships.

How to read Catholic books in three months?

I bought all these books (no, most of them) in a span of 10 months and I haven’t even finished one of them.

You’ll notice that all of them (except the two text books on the bottom) are Catholic books.

None of them are novels; some are collection of essays, reference materials, or devotional books. I cannot just read them on one or two sittings. I want to finish reading them all before the end of March. 

I don’t know if I can achieve my goal. But I’ll update and see if I can even write reviews of each of them. So please pray for me and I implore too the intercession of our Doctor Saints, especially St. Thomas Aquinas. 

Let’s do this!

Things worth looking forward to

Finally, a fast internet connection. I was in a hiatus just because of the slow connection in the past months. Allow me to free-write.

Last January, I purchased a Kobo tablet (an outdated model) and downloaded WordPress app and it didn’t help; I can’t even use the app. I’ve been itching for a long time already to post something here in WP and the circumstances just doesn’t help me. Another factor is that I am using a computer room with 20 plus units, all desktops. We don’t have a WiFi connection in the fraternity (our house) and I need to use the desktop just to be online. It’s even more convenient to do this than to get my tablet and go to a WiFi zone. I heard something about the Free Internet project in the Philippines this coming July and I don’t know how this will roll out. Just one of the few good news in the country since what’s happening here in the news is quite depressing. It is an issue close to my heart and not just a random rambling of a typical Manilenyo who doesn’t even know (and care) about Mindanao and its history.


I read a lot now because of Kobo. Reading is different. I miss blogging.

I’m not yet back since I’m preparing for the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) which is quite unique here in the Philippines since we have an oversupply of aspiring teachers. When I was young, I never dreamed of becoming a teacher. Just to be clear. Even if I did not aspire to actually become one, I must. I think I’m starting to like it now. I haven’t got the experience yet not even a full-time practice teaching stint in the school. I’m becoming stressed a lot now because of the LET review. Actually, it’s not a review but a study since it’s not my major in college and I just took 18 units in Education just to qualify in the PRC requirements. But let’s see how will I fare in the exam. Until next time. Cheers!

How I found a rare and old book

I just finished reading The Seven Storey Mountain. Definitely, I will reread it again next time. So I need to find another to read. Luckily, I stumbled upon a book that I was looking for a long time already. This is how it happened:

I remember in our retreat last March before our first profession of vows, our novice director gave us an excerpt of a book. We were on a one-week retreat in the Trappistine Monastery in South Cotabato. The excerpt was the first exercise of the book Sadhana, which means spirituality. After reading this, I decided to look after this book and get a copy. It’s not easy since it cannot be found in our bookstores here in the country.

Last Friday, our community decided to clean our library since no one is maintaining it due to the lack of a librarian. We re-shelved the books left by some of our brothers who graduated last October. Because of the re-shelving, I got more familiar where to look the books I might be interested reading on the future. But I did not think of Sadhana.

Last Tuesday before our classes starts, I tried to look for a copy of General Directory for Catechesis (GDC). I saw some copies of it during our re-shelving. Before I went up to the library, our Dean of Studies saw me and called my name. I was running that time. I know it was rude but I said “wait” since our classes are about to start and I need to see a book. So I hurriedly looked for the book. During the search, I ended up seeing the book Sadhana by Anthony de Mello. I grabbed it and decided not to pick the GDC. So I have the book I was looking for a long time as I went back to the Dean.

And that’s how I found a rare old book.

The unreturned book (A flash fiction)

There are some books I wouldn’t read.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not too picky with books.
Before I read, I read the synopsis at the back.
Taking time getting to know what it is about.

Like this girl I’ve known since childhood.
I took my time getting to know her well.
But one thing’s for sure: books served as our bridge to each other.

There are books that I don’t like that she reads.
There are books I like that she disdains.
We saw each other’s differences with the books we read.
Nevertheless, we practice arguing with books.

But one day, she borrowed my latest set of books by Murakami.
Said she’s going to read it while waiting for the plane.
Told me to wait, don’t rush; we’ll walk down the aisle.

Evening at home, saw the news on TV
Her plane was missing
I can’t believe this was happening

I don’t know where she is now
She told me to wait
That’s what I’m doing now
Hoping to see her again someday

I can still buy the same book in stores.
Or buy other books to cope with this lost.
But she… she might be the book I will never have the chance to read again.

Writing Prompt: Writing 101 — Dark Clouds on the (Virtual) Horizon (Assignment Twelve)

How to read a spiritual conversion story?

Father, I want to become a Catholic”, said Thomas Merton to a priest.

It’s taking me a long time to finish the book The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton. It’s an autobiographical account of a Trappist Monk on how he, from being a self-confessed “atheist”, became a Catholic and a monk. I just borrowed the book from our teacher since he mentioned it class and I asked for a copy. It is 500-plus pages long and I don’t mind taking a leisurely pace in reading this book. You might accuse me of being lazy since I really am. The book has been with me since June and I have been able to finish a number of books ahead of Merton’s book. Whenever I feel like reading the book, I pick it up and just read it until I get hooked then just stop and reflect. When I read a spiritual book, I change my reading habit. In this book, though I read slowly, my interest doesn’t wane easily and I reread some parts and just ponder. It’s unlike any other books where I read them like I’m just listening to a song. With The Seven Storey Mountain, it’s like I’m reading poetry. Merton mentioned a lot of poets but I would like to focus on Gerard Manley Hopkins, a convert to Catholicism who later on joined the Jesuits as a priest. I think Merton, a self-confessed “atheist”, was inspired by the poems and the life of Hopkins that it pushed him to finally become a Catholic. I have yet to read what happens next since I’m only halfway of the book. I’ll be writing again once I got “struck” again.