The Writing Journey
Joby just wanted to share with others. It’s the same idea as when you have something wonderful, and you just want to share it. Just like discovering a good restaurant or good food and you’d share it on Facebook.
He noticed that there were some things that a regular person had difficulties with or did not know, and he said, “You know what, let’s put all of these things that I think people, based on my experience with them, based on talking with them, need to know. Let’s put them in a book and see; maybe somebody might benefit from it.”
Why is this the right time for you to share your knowledge?
First, I am older and less reactive to other people’s opinions. Second, when I started sharing, I made sure I was sharing the correct thing. I took a certificate course in theology (3-4 years) from Notre Dame University – courses on doctrine, catechism, scripture, and liturgy which better equipped me to share. That was the go signal for me, that I was ready to share correctly.
Is there a line or passage from your books that stands out for you?
A lot of people go through their lives searching for meaning in their lives. We’re always looking at other things (hobbies, material things, etc.). It will always be lacking because material things never satisfy us.
There is always this blanket that reminds us that somebody loves us unconditionally. I think that’s what we’re looking for in life, no matter what. Will somebody love me; who is going to love me, no matter what? And so that’s the answer to the meaning of life.
Hopefully, if people get that from books of mine or any other authors, then it becomes a mark in your life, regardless of what you do or any kind of problems. It all becomes secondary if you know somebody loves you.
Did you have any hesitation/struggles in writing your books?
I always wanted to write. Getting started was what took time. There was a setback. If you write a book about faith and morals in Catholicism, you need to get approval from the bishop. He has to make sure that what you’re writing and sharing with others is correct, or else the errors will spread,
The censor, who was the parish priest at that time, called me and said, “Joby, why don’t you come over and let’s talk about your book?”
I went to the parish office, and then we talked about it. And he asked me two questions. He said, “Where are you getting all of these ideas from?” That was the first question because I did not have any citations.
Then the second was, “What is your background? What is your educational background or experiential background to write a book such as this?” And that’s when, if you would call it, hesitation came in. That was the setback.
He said, “Why don’t you come back and give me a new manuscript with all the citations? Then let’s take it from there.”
I was sad when I went home because I worked hard on this particular manuscript book. I was laughing at the same time because I said, “How could I not have realized that I should put citations?” it’s a scholarly work, and it’s going to be reviewed by the bishop himself and by a reviewer, so I said okay I’m going to have to do this.
Second, it got me thinking maybe I should take the theology courses; that’s how that came to be, that I took my theology courses at Notre Dame. That 3-year course spawned so many other books. I like to see it as sometimes these setbacks are ways of God putting a stumbling block in front of you, and then you have to do something to get over that block, and then you realize, oh, there are so many other things that you can do after that, too. And so it was a blessing in disguise if you want to call it that.
Who do you want to reach?
I’m with a group of people who do podcasts and videos. We have different missions. Mine is reaching out to Catholics who have lapsed or were a little bit lukewarm about their faith.
Do you have any other projects in the works now?
I’m working on creating a walking tour of the Cubao Cathedral so people understand the beauty and the symbolism around them every time they enter our cathedral. I’m also converting the book Contemplating the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary into a podcast.
There’s another book I’m finishing. It’s called A Configuration to Christ (not yet the final title). It’s an explanation of the different virtues
- I write as I think, just letting it flow without caring about errors first.
- I have to write five good (edited) pages written every day.
- A Sky Full of Stars: Know Our Lady through her titles in the Litany
- Beyond the Veil: Contemplating the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary
- Typology For Beginners: A Catholic Perspective on Understanding the New Testament through the Old Testament
- 100 Things Every Catholic Should Know