PER ASPERA, AD ASTRA!
Closing Remarks for the Ateneo de Naga University Commencement Exercises
Fr. Roberto EN Rivera, SJ
24 March 2018
My dear Ateneo graduates of batch 2018, it has been a long evening and you have heard many words of wisdom, from your class valedictorian Jhonelle Paredes, and from our honorary doctorate recipient, now our distinguished alumnus, Justice Hilario Davide. You have been blessed tonight with the presence of your parents, guardians, relatives and friends, as well as your teachers and mentors here at the Ateneo. You have been honored by the presence of our distinguished guests, including Dr. Dennis Rebueno of the Commission of Higher Education, our Board of Trustees members and our alumni, and many others. It has been a truly wonderful evening.
Let me just leave you then with one final message, a message that can be summarized in four simple Latin words. PER ASPERA, AD ASTRA. Those are rendered in English as “Through difficulties, to the stars!” Let us say them together, PER ASPERA, AD ASTRA.
PER ASPERA. Through difficulties. My dear graduates, you have been through much in your years here at the Ateneo, and tonight you and your loved ones relish the fruit of your success. Enjoy this evening for you truly deserve it, but do not stop here. After this evening, reach out for the stars. AD ASTRA! And here I refer not just to the stars of success, although that is surely in the offing for many of you. Reach out rather to the stars, the higher lights that we have pointed out to you here at the Ateneo. Reach out for the shining lights of the Jesuit values we have inculcated upon you. Always follow the light of God’s glory, ad majorem Dei gloriam, and reach out for the light of Magis, the more not just in achievement, but more importantly the Magis, the more of love, service, and humility. Follow above all the highest, brightest star of all, the light of God, for as graduates of Ateneo de Naga you have sworn to work primum regnum Dei.
And so tonight your alma mater, the Ateneo sends you forth into the world as men and women for others, PER ASPERA, AD ASTRA! And when you become weary from the difficulties of life, come home to your alma mater. Come home once in a while to the Ateneo. Come home to gaze at the four pillars, the foundations that we call the Ateneo, the foundations of all that is good and noble in your life. And gazing at the four pillars, look higher, to the cross, the standard of Jesus, the banner of the cross which the Ateneo has inspired you to follow. And from the cross, gaze to the sky, to the stars, AD ASTRA! recall the higher lights, the values that your alma mater has taught you, see the shining light of our blessed mother, our Ina, and the shining light of God who has blessed you with so much this evening and all through your young lives.
And so my dear Ateneans of batch 2018, never forget these four words. Let us proclaim them again, together, PER ASPERA, AD ASTRA! Ateneans of batch 2018, go forth, through difficulties, to the stars! PER ASPERA, AD ASTRA! Congratulations and Dios mabalos.