Following is the complete message of Engineer Rodolfo Niere given to the alumni of La Carlota High School/La Carlota City High School/Doña Hortencia Salas Benedicto National High School during the 65th general alumni homecoming in a simple program at the covered court, Saturday, May 19, 2012.
|Engr. Rodolfo Niere|
"The theme of our gathering, the 65th general alumni homecoming is the "strength and love of the alumni." At first glance, I thought that strength and love go hand in hand. But now I have realized that this may not always be the case. At my age and graduating from this high school in 1954, I can feel my strength slowly leaving my side. Strength now seems to be a distant group of memories of what I used to do in this high school Love on the other hand continues to take root deeper in me and to take hold stronger of me.
When Strength Is Gone. Love takes Over.
"I do not doubt that strength and love can happen simultaneously or coexist in each one of us. I am sure we have found ourselves mustering every ounce of strength just to satisfy those whom we love -- our spouses, children, grandchildren or friends. However, I am beginning to sense that as strength slowly leaves, love is taking its place. And I am finding comfort in this process. I am also finding delight in having my strength replaced by love.
Relationship of Strength and String
"When I think of strength, I picture an athlete, a runner who is swiftly sprinting towards the finish line. I also imagine a weight-lifter who can lift several hundred-pound metal plates over his head. As I was trying to understand what strength really is, I came to know that the English word, "strength" is a cognate of a string. However, this is no ordinary string. Strength is the string that ties both ends of the limb. Strength is the image of a string that bends the limb to achieve the distinct shape of a bow and function of a bow, which is to shoot an arrow. I think that the picture of a bow is bent and whose end-limbs are tautly connected by a string is a beautiful image that captures the essence of what strength is. Fro this image, we can see that strength is transformative. Strength is more than just the power that enables one to lift heavy things. Strength is more than just the power that propels one to run fast. Strength is the power within -- such that when it is applied to something that it can transform that something into something greater and more productive. Strength when applied to something that is better than the sum of its parts. In the case of the bow, the limb and the string on their own have some function. However, combined together as a bow, the bow can shoot an arrow farther than any of the limb or the string can do on its own.
The Strength and the Bow
"As I think of strength and the imagery of a bow, I cannot help but compare the ability of the string to the ability of the alumni of this high school. Just as the string has a transformative power, we the alumni of this school, possess a similar transformative power. Within each of us lies a tremendous power that can positively affect or transform our community, especially the students of this school. Within each of us lies a wealthy of resources that can enrich our community, especially the students of this school. Our experience, our money, and our physical presence -- just to name a few -- can indeed transform this high school to a better environment where the students of our community can be better equipped to be successful in life. In return, the students of this high school, the future alumni, can continue to transform this high school to a far better one that we have today.
Loss of Strength Needs Love
"Everyone here will probably agree that it is difficult to lose strength, to realize that we can no longer do what we have routinely done with ease. Unlike when I was younger or as a student here, walking now takes a lot of effort. Nowadays I cannot even run. As I slowly lose strength, I am beginning to rely on the strength of people around me. Although it may sound troubling, my loss of strength has allowed me to observe the love of those on whom I am now relying to do some things for me; my loss of strength has also given me the opportunity to feel the overwhelming love of people who are helping me. For these experiences I am grateful.
Intimate Relationship of Strength and Love
"As I mentioned earlier, I am beginning to realize that the love of others is taking over where my strength has left. Additionally, my love has grown and taken root deeper in me. In light of these changes, I have come to know the intimate relationship between strength and love. Strength abounds because of love. In the absence of love, strength is just some capacity, some energy or some power that lacks the positive transformational impact. 1 Corinthians 12 captures just how important love is. Anything that is done without love is of no value. Anything that is done in the absence of love is nothing.
True Model of Love
"No one here will probably argue that everyone knows something about love. One way or another, you and I have our own impressions of what love is. People have tried to describe love in songs, in poems, and in pictures. These attempts through songs, poetry and images are incomplete. To me, the true model of love is Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. There is no other greater lover, no other person with greater love than Jesus Christ. As it says in the Bible, in John 15:13, "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." What Christ has done -- where he died for you and for me, for our benefit -- is the perfect picture of what love is. What Christ has done, to me, is the real picture of the intimate relationship between strength and love.
Display Love Through Strength
"I have urged each of us earlier to use what we have to make a positive change in this school, our Alma Mater, and in this community. However, let me change that urge -- Let us use our resources out of love for the students and teachers of our Alma Mater, who have dedicated their lives to prepare students, who we were once, to make our communities better. We are not asked nor am I asking you to lay down our lives for the students, faculty or staff of this school, although I do not doubt that some of us will lay down our lives for them. I am asking you today to show our love to this school because our teachers, our classmates, and our friends who we have encountered during the high school stage of our lives have loved us and have allowed to make positive changes in this school out of love. I am asking today to display our love through our strength because we have experienced the love of those who have come before us and so that the future alumni can see the example and carry on our love of this school.
The Joy and the Strength
"Let me remind you that the strength I am talking about is human strength -- our physical strength which weakens as we grow old. Sometimes, to others, strength is almost gone. In my own experience, the higher level of strength is divine or spiritual strength becomes stronger as I grow old. This is true for it is the promise of God in His words: "As thy days so shall thy strength be." As we grow in the Lord, our divine/spiritual strength becomes stronger deep within. The Bible says in Neh. 8:16 "The joy of the Lord is your strength." But this JOY should be spelled right -- J stands for Jesus. O stands for others (your loved ones and other people) and Y stands for yourself. As long as our first priority is Jesus, second priority is others and ourselves last, we can experience the joy of the Lord which is our strength.
"In all our situations in life, God is there -- He is just a prayer away. He supplies us with His strength and love until He will take us home in glory!"