We’ve Forgotten How Great It Is To Be a Catholic Woman

Mama Mary comes to mind, by the way. 🙂

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It is difficult to be a woman today, especially a Christian woman. It’s no wonder Catholics are confused about who they are. The Church boldly declares feminine traits are part of a woman’s core identity, deeply rooted in their souls, not just apparent in their physical appearance. Saint John Paul II, in his letter On the Dignity and Vocation of Women, explains God created women to be different but equal to men as complementary partners, be it as married or religious/consecrated or single women.

Our contemporary culture opposes this view as misogynistic. Some feminists promote the idea that women are born as blank slates with exactly the same traits as men, dismissing femininity as simply learned behaviour. If this were not confusing enough, society now toys with the idea of a blending of genders. We have somehow lost the truth about how great being a woman actually is.

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Nature…

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Unchecked Suspension

The day’s preparation for class started off with me hurrying to have a fried rice breakfast, buying puto and kutsinta for snacks, and walking fast to the jeepney stop and to the classroom.

I put effort into keeping myself calm and not being like most people I’ve met, though, silently admitting my fault of putting unnecessary focus on writing a fill for a writing prompt in a fanfiction site forum thread to myself, followed by reminding myself to just acknowledge the fact that there will be consequences. Good actions get good consequences, and bad actions get bad consequences, although some would say that good actions usually get bad consequences, but I would bet that that sort of thinking isn’t really God-centered.

Things started going strange, though, when the jeepney I was riding entered the university premises. There was a noticeable lack of people waiting for the jeepney, and in hindsight, I should’ve seen the signs back at the avenue outside it, where lines were usually long and barkers were standing by for the next available jeepney to stop by.

Still, I guess my efforts at trying to keep myself calm as I thought about going to class again kept me quite distracted from thinking more about that strangeness. Sure, I was expecting my professor on Shakespeare to just pause for a while or note my tardy presence from his peripheral vision as he discussed about stuff related to As You Like It, but I still couldn’t stop myself from imagining him sputtering and groaning at some latecomer interrupting him, even if he was more likely to just snark at me with a level voice and a straight face if he were feeling that offended.

Hm, come to think of it, that irrational imagine spot sounds more like something I’m likely to do if I were in his shoes.

Anyway, I then went on the classroom, my backpack for provincial return commutes on my shoulders, while my traveling bag of the current week’s dirty school and boarding clothes was gripped by one hand. Along with that blue and black traveling bag and its logo similar to one of the logos of K-Pop boyband Seventeen was a plastic bag containing some pricey chemistry lab equipment bought from a store within the campus, equipment which I bought for my homeschooled younger sister upon my mother’s request because such stuff were cheaper in the city of my university. There were also scattered thoughts in my head, such as thoughts about how my Poetry professor would zigzag yet entertain with her discussion before, during, and after a pair of students did a report on a poetry guide chapter. There were also memories of watching celebrity intrigues – particularly of separated couples and scandalous individuals – being talked about on TV back when I was a child. And then there were the plans regarding upcoming groupworks, and there were the expectations regarding praise from fellow fools on that writing prompt fill I had cut myself off from writing more of before posting it and logging out to keep myself from going late for class any further.

But when I entered the first classroom I had to go to for the day…I found it empty.

That was when I really took note of how the halls had a lack of students sitting down by its walls, how the construction workers and their roadwork didn’t have the chatter of university students and faculty blending into their noise, and how there was a security guard who noticed me looking into an empty classroom, asking me “May klase ba po kayo ngayon, sir?”

That was when I found out that classes were suspended on that day because of a recent typhoon.

And upon the advice of the somewhat uncertain yet pretty polite man with the tight, armed, badged, and embroidered white shirt, I even went through the trouble of asking some faculty at my course’s department to confirm it.

I pretty much let out some awkward laughs and apologies as I was reminded about how I needed to be more attentive of the news.

Still, would it be abnormal if I worried about how the teachers won’t be able to give us students enough of a challenge because of the disrupted schedule?

Crawling to the Dawn – Chapter 1

Crawling to the Dawn

a Fate series fanfiction written by The Overlord Bear

Summary: Shirou Emiya ends up summoning a certain treacherous Knight of the Round Table as his Servant for the Fifth Holy Grail War, and said Servant is a somewhat sane Berserker to boot…a Berserker who then ends up wanting to smack some sense into him and a bunch of other people.


WARNING: MATURE CONTENT!


Chapter 1: E-Rank Luck


Continue reading

Breaks and Sudden Changes

I haven’t updated this reflection series by the usual weekly frequency lately, and it’s honestly something that’s been irking me. Furthermore, I considered ending this series because of that.

But now that I think about it, perhaps such breaks and sudden changes are part of the ordinary as well, no? I was thinking about saying that I write better with fiction, and that I only write about extraordinary things, but this sort of writing I’m trying to do tries to draw techniques from writing fiction, and writing about ordinary things would lead to realizations about extraordinary things.

I am uncertain about how I would update this from now on, though. But who am I writing for, anyway? What am I expecting? Am I expecting the world to change greatly and for the better overnight? Am I writing for a large audience expecting me to post something regularly? Really, even though I thought of ending this series by saying that I feel like I’ve been showing off and being hypocritical and such, that attempt at an excuse also sounds like a hypocritical statement now, as I think of myself as an entitled celebrity or something.

I also have more important things to do outside this as well. There’s school, there’s household work, there’s Mass (and in fact, I ended up being really late for Mass because I put more vigilance into working on my previous entry to this series), and so much more. It’s easy to blame society for this being delayed and even ended, but to be fair, this is more of an extracurricular activity, and I can still have conversations about spiritual things with other people outside the Internet.

With how I’m doing now, putting my daily responsibilities at risk for the sake of activities like this, I end up falling deeper into laziness through frustration over inabilities with continuing this, an example of such falling having happened recently, when my mother called me about buying some chemistry equipment for my sister. I know the importance of it, and I understand that said equipment are cheaper in the university store, but I easily became irritated when I stuffed in thoughts about whether or not I have enough money to afford the equipment I needed to buy. And at the time of the phone call, I was working on this entry as well.

Yes, I think I should change up the way I write my next entries for this series. I am not sure about whether or not there would be people who would care to comment on this right now, but regardless, I need to do deeper reflections, and a change of routine here is important, I think.

Indeed, I need to practice what I preach.

So yeah, God Almighty keep on helping us all.

Wandering Weiss – Chapter 12

Wandering Weiss

a RWBY fanfiction written by The Overlord Bear

Summary: Were it not for a wandering musician’s cynical words, Weiss Schnee would have continued on the path to becoming a Huntress. Now, a disinherited Weiss lives as a wandering singer, trying to be a hero in a different manner, with that wandering musician named Jaune Arc as a companion…


Previous Chapter: Reflection

First Chapter: A Change of Path


Chapter 12: Compassion


Continue reading

Milestones, Turning Points, and Activity Updates – October 2017

It’s been the midterm month of the uni semester, and personally, such times are more of a spiritual challenge. Real easy to get dragged down by the negativity of others, see, and I’m also getting the feeling that hurrying myself up isn’t a very good way to deal with me.

Also, I’ve been having difficulty lately with coming up with worthwhile words for posts like this and those added commentaries I have for stuff like music posts. It would be short but not impactful enough, or it would be long but too winding talk. It makes me feel more like I’m being self-centered while trying to do Tobby stuff…though I do wish I could have someone who’s willing and available to regularly talk with me about creative work and spiritual musings and all that.

Hm, maybe I’m not trying hard enough in terms of improving my social life, and I’m just boxing myself in instead.

Anyway, here’s a list of posts that I managed to get up here during the month of October:

Also, I posted some recorded video attempts at comedy on my YouTube Channel.

As for upcoming stuff, well…I had been working on music stuff lately, managing to record two covers, but the videos for them will take a while. I’ve also managed to write sets of lyrics and progress on some music tracks, and they will still take a while. I also managed to make two short stories, complete with relatively simple covers drawn by myself, but I feel the need to have them beta-read first, so yeah, that’ll also take a while. I also have fanfiction chapters on upload queue…but that’ll also take a while.

Yeah, I think I need to find better ways to unwind…

So yeah, honest constructive feedback is highly encouraged and will be highly appreciated.

The Not-So-Flashiness of Godly Glory

In my reflections on the Glorious Mysteries of the Holy Rosary, there’s something I realized as I thought more about the surrounding circumstances and the more specific details of those Mysteries.

See, one thing that probably makes them labeled as Mysteries…is how much ordinary they had.

Think about it:

  1. In the telling of how Jesus rose from the dead, there was no vivid and close-up depiction of it. He was shown again resurrected, sure, but the Resurrection proper was never shown past the whole earthquake and message at His tomb (Matthew 28:1-8, Mark 16:1-11, Luke 24:1-11, John 20:1-18). Even Mary Magdalene, whom Jesus appeared to on that same day, did not recognize Jesus so easily, thinking that He was just some gardener when she saw Him after she wept to two angels about His disappearance (John 20:11-18).
  2. The Apostles were reminded by angels to get to work with preaching and all after Jesus ascended into Heaven (Acts 1:6-11). In other words, ordinary life still went on, even after such marvelous events.
  3. Of all the amazing abilities to particularly show the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Apostles having right after they got descended upon by the fires of the Holy Spirit, emphasis was put on the ability to speak well in other languages (Acts 2:1-12).
  4. The Blessed Virgin Mary was assumed into Heaven, body and soul together. In other words, she didn’t leave a corpse behind when her life on earth reached its end.
  5. The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Queen of All Saints, and where you would find her speaking in the Bible, you would also find her being confused about God and His actions, followed by obeying, supporting, and even praising God without so much question.

Now, if I were to think about those with the mindset of someone looking for blinding lights or, at least, empirical evidence in the search for the existence of the great glory of God Almighty, then I would probably find myself doubting and disappointed. And if I were looking for a whipping woman with a mob under her heels, then I would also be doubting and disappointed by Mama Mary.

Like, really, the hatred held by that proud being named Satan makes more sense that way. With that sort of thinking, followers of God Almighty would seem like practically invisible and nodnut followers of some faceless ruler dude who makes the citizens underneath him do mundane and dirty work over and over until they die.

So yes, believing in God and following Him really is like walking on water while facing the wind, which dear Saint Peter failed at before (Matthew 14:29-31). Oh, and it also makes me think that God really has an awesomely humbling sense of humor, considering how doing ordinary duties extraordinarily well (which was notably encouraged by Saint John Bosco) can be compared to walking on water while facing the wind.

And yes, being properly ordinary still feels that way to me. I don’t know everything that’ll happen to me next, and the twists and turns of life still are quite a puzzle. I wish I could finish everything in one fell swoop, but that sort of thinking would just lead me to square one at best or Hell at worst. Being properly ordinary feels even more challenging when I think about how to do it while being an artist as well.

But still, I do believe that I’ve been helped by God before, and that I can prove that in ways so many more than I think, especially since He values the ordinary so much.

So yeah, God Almighty keep on helping us all. 🙂

As Basic as Eating

It was just recently when I began to seriously wonder about why Jesus Christ decided to have something as ordinary as eating as the core part of a Sacrament.

Yes, I do know and believe that the Mass is one sacred activity, but if I were someone looking forward to more explosive sounds and blinding lights in our quest for divine salvation and eternal life, I think I would also end up questioning the worth of gathering in one place, listening to readings, and then eating.

Yes, eating. After that and everything else that came before it, we go back to our regular life programs. There’s the change of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ during the Mass, yeah, but it can be easy to take for granted, especially since there’s none of those flashy and spectacular sensory effects accompanying the Consecration…well, unless you count the sacristan’s bell-ringing as flashy and spectacular, but that would probably be considered negligible by the popular lover of bright sparkles and booming shockwaves.

So yeah, during my continued endeavors at praying the Rosary daily (which is tough, even if I haven’t exactly broken my current streak, mostly because I waste my time on things like hanging around with questionable people and material online for the sake of pride and such), I had those thoughts about the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Not like I felt disappointment, though, as I actually realized more about the true level of difficulty that we need to face to truly get to Heaven when I had those thoughts.

Think about it: Eating is pretty much the most basic form of nourishment, and we people have to eat three balanced meals a day. And then there’s Jesus, instituting the Holy Eucharist as one of the essentials in Catholic life, the core of it all being a mealtime with His Body and Blood as the main course. And sure, Sunday Masses are the required Eucharistic attendance, but don’t you think there’s something to be said about something as basic as eating being that important a task?

And hey, don’t we easily take the basics for granted? I can remember how easy it has been for me to have an eating routine that goes from not eating much to eating too much like a seesaw. I don’t eat much when I want to focus on my studies and my Tobby stuff without a lot of disturbance, and I eat too much when I come to eat after those periods. There’s also my choices of food, which has a load of carbs, oil, and sugar lately, tipping the scales out of balance. And then there’s socialization during mealtimes, which I haven’t been appreciating as much as I should, considering things like my annoyance at my family complaining – even if they’re mostly through jokes – about diet struggles and such.

Now, my dad’s talks about less fortunate people come to mind again, with them eating the scraps they can get, and then there’s me, putting myself in a cycle of fattening up and then lazing around.

Yeah, the Eucharist got me thinking more about properly appreciating the basics, alright. Oh, and in the Eucharist, we eat, and we eat something that doesn’t seem much. It’s easy to question it, to call it a cheap lie, but in that, we can see the everyday challenge that God presents us. It reminds me of John 20:29, which is Jesus’ response to the once doubting Thomas after He appeared to him and the rest of His disciples: “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

Indeed, it makes me think more about how there really is beauty in the ordinary.

So yeah, God Almighty help us some more. 🙂

Dining Table Tales

The importance of the dining table, particularly in terms of mealtimes with the family, was something that I easily took for granted at first. It’s something to be expected, I guess, with taking the learning of eating at face value during childhood.

Then, years later, came those commercials by a certain locally notable noodle brand which also advocated mealtimes with the family. Said commericals often presented lonely scenes of kids and their parents underneath dim and shadowy lighting plus stiff and feeble (or worse, shouting and distancing – like, there was one commercial where the kid’s side of the table stretched back farther and farther every time his parents shouted with rage) exchanges of words in the midst of clinking and clanking of utensils on food and on the table. Following those scenes would be some advising text or a celebrity endorser reminding about family mealtimes at the dining table being an important part of family life, and they worked well, indeed, even to the point of convincing my parents, as far as I remember.

And although we’re not that consistent in terms of having at least one mealtime together as a family daily, especially since there are factors like us university students tending to spend more time outside the family lately, I think all of us have a significant amount of understanding regarding the value of eating meals with other people. Mom and Dad often call us to eat together when the opportunity is there, and they would even have one of us kids call the rest of the family (and yes, that also includes the extended family and even – back when we had such – the househelp) if there are members who still need to be called. Along with eating second helpings or being reminded to leave over some for those who haven’t eaten yet, we would do things like talking about our recent activities, teasing and reminding each other about our physical fitness, and reminiscing about our younger years.

The value of all those things become more noticeable to me when I eat alone, especially in open places, the silence feeling like a more deafening thing there.

I can remember how my throat easily went dry from all the rapid-fire respiration whenever I hung out with my friends, who would joke and/or ask about who would the “manlilibre” be for our munchtimes if the host’s parents weren’t the ones preparing the food. I can also remember smiling, laughing, and leaning back more and more whenever I discovered and rediscovered memories like how much of a tough and competitive girl my mother was during her younger years, the funny situations my parents found themselves in when they met certain former classmates again after so many years, and all the attention-grabbing stuff that we kids did back when we were more under the care of adults.

Indeed, I have overlooked something so beautifully ordinary. No wonder Pope Francis encourages having good mealtimes with the family as well.

And yeah, I do know that I’ll have to strike out on my own eventually…so I guess I need to work harder and better in terms of making friends and all that while living life outside the family. Mealtimes with trustworthy people contains more delicious eating, after all.

To be honest, though, the struggle I have with trying to make friends outside my family’s house is pretty much the fear of seeing other people’s dark sides, I think. I don’t think that the problem is how the dining table is also a stress relief venue, though. I’ve learned of heavy tales from my family while at the dinner table, and we’ve dealt with that a lot of times without too much trouble, our voices leveled and our faces focused as we try to understand and respond to the situation to the best of our ability, so why can’t I do that as well with people outside my family?

Hm, perhaps it is because I have a hard time forgiving myself whenever I find that I’m unable to form a proper response in delivery and content to people I’m not used to. Burying myself so much in the shame, I begin wishing that people would just stop talking with me or avoid talking near my earshot.

Perhaps it is also because I don’t want to try understanding the other person, especially when they hold beliefs that I don’t like. I put more effort into avoiding their presence rather than seeing how much I can lead them towards better dialogue, lying to myself about how I know everything about what I can really do.

And perhaps there’s my control freak issues messing with me again, going narrow-minded about the people I want to hang out with. I sit down and wait for them to do this and that, but I don’t bother diving into understanding how they work their lives out, making me sink lower and lower into misconceptions and lack of breath because of my weight which increases because of my gloomy laziness.

In other words: Perhaps it’s pride again.

Hmm…perhaps I should go offer some hot chocolate to a housemate in the boarding house sometime?

Well, anyway, God Almighty keep on helping us all. 🙂

With an acoustic arrange, Tobby tried to sing “Eine Kleine”

After a bunch of song covers in English, I’m back with a Japanese one, yo!

So yeah, this is one heartrending song I want to sing, and Bikkuri’s acoustic arrange isn’t bad, too! Had to kick up the key to get better output from my voice, though.

Also, I have hard time thinking up what to say for these blog posts about stuff like this lately…and I think that says something about how I do my stuff as Tobby. Perhaps I should lessen my posting every two weeks or so…well, that, and/or just let the song and my singing do all the talking, along with me responding to worthwhile comments.

Anyway, here’s the mp3 of this cover! Also, honest constructive feedback is highly encouraged and will be highly appreciated!