Page last updated at 03:48 Asia/Manila, Thursday, 05 September 2013 PH
I may or may not live till my nineties (my mother lived to the ripe old age of 102!). In my mid-seventies, however, I am already sharing the joys of the main character of the classic film "Goodbye Mr. Chips," which was about a British male teacher (played by Peter O'Toole) who dedicated all his life to teaching, living long enough to see the grandchildren of his pupils. This year, the CRC College of Arts and Science, that evolved into the University of Asia and the Pacific, has begun to celebrate its silver anniversary which will culminate in March 2014. Last July 19, the anniversary celebrations kicked off with the alumni and alumnae from the first batch of enrollees in 1989. One of them already has a daughter who graduated from UA&P. Soon, there will be more second generation enrollees. I hope to see the third generation enrollees, God willing.
I reminded the pioneer batch that on the first day of school in June 1989, I serenaded them with what was then a top tune by Whitney Houston, "The Greatest Love Of All." It was very appropriate because it started with the lines, "Children are our future, teach them well....." I also reminded them that to begin the very important component of values education that is an integral part of the education that they would get, I modified one of the last lines of the song which went "the greatest love of all is learning to love yourself." With due respects to Whitney Houston, who had a tragic end, I thought that the words smacked of egoism and narcissism. So I changed the words into "the greatest love of all is learning to love without measure." Since the vast majority of the alumni and alumnae are married, I reinforced this message twenty five years later with another song, "You and I," the very theme song of "Goodbye Mr. Chips," (popularized by Petulah Clark) which was also about married love as it portrayed the undying love between the teacher and the teacher's wife who was his strongest moral support.
A good number of our first students have large families. I am glad they understood very well the doctrine contained in Humanae Vitae which they took in their Theology class. As they continue to organize activities related to the silver anniversary, let me remind them of some paragraphs from this very important document from the hands of Pope Paul VI about married love and the procreation of children. First of all, married love is fully human, "a compound of sense and spirit. It is not, then, merely a question of natural instinct or emotional drive. It is also, and above all, an act of the free will, whose dynamism ensures that not only does it endure through the joys and sorrows of daily life, but also that it grows, so that husband and wife become in a way one heart and one soul, and together attain their human fulfillment."
Then, as an echo to the modified line from "The Greatest Love of All," their love should be without measure, without counting the cost. It should be a love that is total--"that very special form of personal friendship in which husband and wife generously share everything, allowing no unreasonable exceptions or thinking just of their own interests." Furthermore, married life is faithful. Our alumni and alumnae from the first to the last batches must be encouraged to go against the grain of spreading infidelity in marriage fostered by media and entertainment: "Though this fidelity of husband and wife sometimes presents difficulties, no one can assert that it is impossible, for it is always honorable and worthy of their highest esteem. The example of so many married persons down through the centuries shows not only that fidelity is conatural to marriage but also that it is the source of profound and enduring happiness." Indeed, I can say that our alumni and alumnae, with very few exceptions, are very happy in their married lives.
Another source of pride of mine is to see how our alumni and alumnae were very active pro-life advocates in the public debates about the RH Law. A good number of them went to the Batasan during the deliberations on the Law to show their support for the pro-life cause. They have completely assimilated the following words of Pope Paul VI: "(Married love) is creative of life, for it is not exhausted by the loving interchange of husband and wife, but also contrives to go beyond this to bring new life into being. Marriage and married love are by their character ordained to the procreation and bringing up of children. Children are the outstanding gift of marriage, and contribute in the highest degree to the parents' welfare." Given the pro-life culture that is widespread among our graduates, I can really look forward to seeing many of their children and grandchildren enrolling in the various campuses of our university in the next twenty or more years. Graduates of the CRC College of Arts and Sciences who want to be actively involved in the silver anniversary celebrations may get in touch with Ms. Ann Arcenas at 0917 527 2347. For comments, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.