Useful Lenten Podcasts

Since Ash Wednesday, I began listening to really nice podcasts on my iPhone in keeping with the reflective season. I thought long and hard about my life, where it is going and how I plan to go about it with my lifetime partner.

It was really useful and therapeutic, and I usually find myself more centered while I code or do my writing work. While I silently work, I let these things run in the background and I find it comforting. Ideas seem to flow more easily and there is no noise that hinders me from absorbing concepts.

Here are three of my favorites for Lent and beyond Lent:

1. Divine Office or Liturgy of the Hours

This tops the list because it is based on Catholic Scripture and Tradition. It is divided equally throughout the day, into 6 to 8 specific parts. If you are really going to follow through the prayers, you will basically be praying every 2-3 hours during the day from sunrise to sundown. I do not get to follow the whole 6-8 prayer per day regimen; usually, I just pop in and out of the podcast for the time that I chose to listen to it. I do it while I wash dishes, do laundry, fix the house, or do my work in the computer. It’s really excellently done and I really hope they have an Android version for this thing. Traditionally this is prayed on a physical Church from morning to evening (lauds and vespers) and referred using the thick book they call a Breviary. The nuns usually get to do it. Common folk like me can just listen to it.

2. Jesuit Media Pray as You Go Podcast

Sometimes I am out of town and I do not have the time to sit by my computer. I can only pop in this 15-20 minute daily podcasts. The first one I listened to had these really nice and relaxing African background sounds. The whole thing has a very eclectic vibe that any open-minded worshipper will surely enjoy.

3. The Rosary Podcast
The Scriptural Rosary podcast episodes help me through when my hands are busy but I want to meditate with eyes closed for a short time. It is very artistically done.

Equally worth noting are some of the best in the fundamentalist podcasts, to wit:

4. Joel Osteen

He preaches with a twang but often it’s a bang straight to the heart. I like his very modern manner of preaching and encouragement. There are always words of life. My favorite episode of all time is the one about kicking toxic people out of your life. 🙂 It was very spot on and enlightening because at the time, I decided to end a very bad friendship. There are emotional vampires and there are people that are really in need of help, and every person must know the difference between those things.

5. Joyce Meyer

A little funny and kooky is the Joyce Meyer podcast. I’ve listened to a handful and probably more women can relate to it. Sometimes, I think she goes too hardcore and I do not always agree with her but I respect this woman for her courage.

6. 60 Seconds with Max Lucado

I like this wonderful podcast because you only have to listen to it for 60 SECONDS! And you have a nugget of inspiring thought to ruminate on for an hour or for the whole day. I just love it. I love Lucado’s well-written books and I love his podcasts just as much.

Having said that, I really wish everyone to have a rejuvenating and meaningful Holy Week. 🙂

A Post for Women: The Call to Guard One’s Heart

“Remember that the heart is a traitor. Keep it locked with seven locks.”

-The Way, St. Josemaria Escriva

I am not yet old enough to know all the wisdom of the whole wide universe, but neither am I a blank tabula rasa free of viewpoints and principles. One distinct thing I have learned in life is to keep the heart locked. Sure, it’s good to follow one’s heart. But from time to time, even the heart needs restraints that shall keep it from overruling one’s head.

Women, in particular, are most apt to take hours on end trying to find the perfect pair of clothes, the right pair of shoes, the appropriate eye and cheek tint, and everything else. And yet, we so undersell the most important thing of all: who we give our hearts to. We refuse to wear anything less than the best, and yet, we put up with indescribable amounts of garbage from undeserving men who like to take advantage and simply squander empty promises and affections. And that’s why that breed of men proliferates this planet– they often get away with it because women let them.

(This can apply to some men conversely, but I believe I am in no position to speak on their behalf. I am not generalizing men here; I am just speaking about those despicable men who do not even deserve to be considered men, in the truest sense of the term.)

I have learned, mostly in the painful and hard way, that it is very much important to erect fortresses as frequently as we open our lives to new things and new people.

Recognizing the real from the fake— because there are those who hide really well in their smokes and mirrors. But at the end of the day, you will find nothing but just that: smokes and mirrors. And time is the best acid test for seeing what’s real. I have often found people who like to strike when the iron is hot, not knowing that it causes so much unnecessary and stinging burns when all the initial bravado wears off.

Worse, some people like to lead you on. They like to affirm themselves at the expense of other people. They mislead you by being sweet and making you feel “special”, but they actually do that to everyone because they want to devour all the affection, admiration and affirmation they can get.

Reading the signs early on and dealing with them immediately— but most people (myself included) like to go voluntarily blind even when everything already points to the logical decision of letting go and keeping a safe distance. Crudely depicted “signs” missed by women can be found in the movie “He’s Just Not that Into You.” And there are so many other films and books that will attest to this frequently repeated mistake.

I was talking about this remotely with Katt and Daphne last night in McDo after work, and we were so unanimously in agreement of the fact that nothing kills the appeal of a guy worse than being too needy, looking all desperate to find a woman and hitting on all the women with unnecessary flirtatious remarks every chance he gets.

An important warning: There are people who take advantage. Be wary of them, especially the subtle ones who hide their misdeeds in the thick cloak of wholesome involvements and activities. There is never an assurance that you are safe, even among the spiritually minded ones. You might be even surprised that the outright jerks are fairly more decent than the hidden ones who hate showing themselves for real.

Restraining one’s unruly self at those crucial moments where it’s hard to take a stand— and this is something I struggle with the most. It also involves, conversely, the restraining of the unruly ones from wreaking havoc in your otherwise peaceful existence.

Remembering the lessons from the past, and taking care not to repeat them. Aside from lessons from the past, it’s necessary to feed the mind and heart with new soul-enriching things for a brighter future.

Reminding the self frequently that all this struggle is WORTH IT— because there will be moments where you will loathe yourself for having such high aspirations. Because it automatically makes you hard to get to, in some way. Because it makes you less appealing to some people for taking a stand. But let those hideous moments pass and you will surely emerge as a stronger woman.

When involved with heart issues, it’s often so easy to fall into a tunnel, not really able to see things objectively. I have often found it most helpful to take means of spiritual formation in a community that I can genuinely trust, a community that “walks the talk” and helps you see things from a clearer perspective. Nobody is too old to have a mentor. Even though I am extremely busy with the things I do, I ensure that I make time for talking to her. And in matters of spiritual direction, it helps to bare the soul and be as simple as possible, even with the things I am most uncomfortable/ashamed of discussing. It is in deep conversation that an equally deep form of assistance can be rendered.  If one does not want artificial help or artificial relationships, one has got to take the time and really be authentic.

Woman, take your sweet time, widen your horizons and open your life to people and things. But guard your heart with seven locks. We are told to make the most out of life, but that does not involve letting others step in too closely that they will devour us– our principles, our identity, our very souls.

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Note:

Those interested in the seven locks can read more from Father Soria’s book entitled Is Purity Possible?


Primum Primi

What is Primum Primi? Did you have a Primum Primi moment this week?

It’s been 3 weeks since I last heard this Latin phrase but it still rings in the back of my head. Like an attached colony of lice. Hahaha. Or a slipper that accidentally got stepped on an adhesive rat trap. I tried to get Google’s help as I write this, but my gosh, all I got was a bunch of Latin phrases. It’s that uncommon in vocabulary. But super common in real life. So once and for all, let’s post about Primum Primi to put all my noisy neural waves to rest.

I think we were discussing Confession during that particular doctrine class. And then there was the question and answer portion after the class. Somebody asked about sudden outbursts, if they are considered sin or not.

If I may be allowed to define it in my own words, it’s the outburst that comes from one’s primal instinct. Primum primi is something that one must not confess. It’s not sin; it can be an outburst that has an unpleasant ring to it, but it’s not a sin.

Let’s set a concrete example:
A child falls off the jeepney. You scream some unpleasant words. “Ay kamote!” or something else. (Can’t tell other R-13 phrases because I have 10-year-old readers.)

So that’s not sin, as per Catholic doctrine teaching. Because according to our teacher, sin only happens when there is a deliberate motive to do something. In the case of saying “Ay ***** mo”, there was no intention to harm. There was just an initial reaction that caused you to react severely over a shocking thing.

I wish our teacher Nini shared some more; primum primi just kept on going in my head for three weeks. To think she had other interesting topics like Matrimony, Chastity and the real deal on RH bill (and why the Catholic Church does not like some of its parts).

How interesting to know that there is a better term for “sudden outbursts” in Catholic doctrine.

daydreaming on finals week, lanciano miracle and jogging galore

omg… march. final stretch of the semester. yeah, one semester too many for someone like me. but still the same feeling. one good thing about having a lot of semester to practice in is that you get used to the stress and it doesn’t seem to hurt as much. just like jogging, which hurts the legs only at first but over time it gets easier and more enjoyable…

past three days i have been jogging again. it just feels so good to do it again. i got sick with asthma for about 10 days and i wasn’t able to go to school that much. i was so depressed. getting back in the jogging habit has been really refreshing for me. i also realized that even the ability to jog or be in a health condition that allows me to jog is a gift from God. I have been close to taking that good health for granted because I felt invincible last month, as if no virus is to assail me or something. Of course, that’s just misplaced pride. hahaha. No one’s exempted from the wear and tear of life.

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I also finished reading this, which I find very interesting since the Eucharist is a hot theological topic for most denomination: http://www.miraclerosarymission.org/lanciano.html

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hmmm what else. i diminished my rakets by a considerable degree these days. i just wanted to work on one big project for a short time and yield big returns. then not work for the next weeks. and then get another big project after a long period of rest. it is just more efficient: Pareto Principle at work.

I used to take things by the bulk, regurgitating from my PC around 15 articles a day for different clients. It wasn’t a life at all. It was just a big money-making machine that I made myself out of.

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Today, I feel better. I wake early, I sleep early and I do stuff more spontaneously.. When things feel a bit on the heavy side, my inner compass tells me that I am giving in too little or too much on something.

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Sure, I’ll need a more stable income in case I decide to build a family. But right now, I am just hapy with the way things are…

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Anyway, much as I want to expound on these thoughts that I have in my head right now, I realize that I have to accomplish some other things and these pleasures of the Internet have to be reined in before it eats up my entire breaktime today. hehe.

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Daydreaming is becoming a vice. It’s alarming.