Knights of Rizal: Every moment of life is most precious. We should not fritter it away in vain pursuits but devote in the search of self and God. The real essence of Christmas will be celebrated when we fullfill the aim of Christ's birth - to show love and compassion in a world full of suffering, to extend the grace of the master to those who live in darkness and despair. Let us serve the poor and broken ones. Let us not waste energy in questions and controversies.
We must remember the cause for which Jesus was born and for which he sacrificed his life, and remembering it, we must live by it ourselves for if we love him, we must follow his commandments. In this way, the fascination and charms of the world will not bind us. My wishes for the new year are for us to become aware again of that which holds us together at heart, that we focus again on what we have in common as a nation, and for us to strive to have more consideration for others to fulfill a hero's wish.
If we take time to look within us to listen to the spiritual and moral yearnings of our soul, we too can be heroes. We may not be a linguist or a polyglot or someone who knows many languages like Jose Rizal, but we can always choose to utter words which declare kindness and courtesy. We may not be able to write poems and novels like Dr. Jose Rizal, but we can choose to turn the pages of our lives to be an inspiring open book of integrity and character, and beautiful poetry that soothes the human soul. We may not be called to die for our country like Rizal, but we can choose to live and continue the work of our great hero so that we and the next generations can enjoy liberties.
As we make our way toward the future as a nation, we are more than ever conscious of Rizal's hopes that we must redeem. In our strivings to win our place of dignity in the world community, we refresh our minds and derive inspiration from Rizal because we know that the dangers to our nation are not only forces from within and without; peril can also come from forgetting. We re-learn history and the ways of old and juxtapose them with modern Philippine society. We ask ourselves if indeed we now have the Philippines that Dr. Jose Rizal has aspired and toiled for. Perhaps, freedom was never fully won even after Rizal's death because many Filipinos remain apathetic to the ideals of what Philippine democracy should be - far-reaching and encompassing, compassionate and effective, caring and responsible. This is yet to be seen in modern Philippine society. Thus, we must reflect on how our lives and contributions have made our republic stronger or if our choices and actions weakened its very foundations.
Through the collective efforts and resilience of the present generations of Filipinos - with Knights of Rizal as torchbearers - we must complete Rizal's work by realizing his vision of a land of freedom and peace, of sharing and progress. Non-Omnis Moriar!