A long time ago people had personal mottoes. These short phrases served to identify an ideal, principle or goal. The motto guides personal conduct. If this motto is a personal one, it tells a lot about the person it signifies.
In the Middle Ages, knights, kings, queens and noblemen had mottoes. Anyone who was capable of bearing arms had one. This developed further as part of chivalry and kings had the right to grant arms and of course mottoes.
Thus one of the early Knightly mottoes include “Pro Deo et Patria”, for God and Country. It is still the motto of the Philippine Independent Church. Prince Charles as Prince of Wales has the German “Ich Dien” or I serve. Pope John Paul II’s personal motto is Totus Tuus or All Yours. Benedict XVI’s personal motto is “Cooperatores Veritatis”, although it doesn’t appear in his Arms as Supreme Pontiff.
Well mine is the Latin Motto ”Duc In Altum’ or in English “Put out to Deep Water”. In Filipino the motto is “Pumalaot Kayo” The motto is in the Gospel according to Luke 5:6. In this episode, Peter and his fishermen have worked so hard and caught nothing. But Christ commands them to put out to deep water and to lower the nets. Then the nets were at the breaking point for they caught so many fish. Upon reaching shore, Peter asks the Lord to leave him for he was a sinful man. The Lord said that he will become a new kind of fisher, the one who catches no longer fish but men’s souls.
This Latin Motto represent all of my person and my ideals. After all I am a marine scientist and many times I have to put out into the deep and even plunge into the deep. Of course I am at times fearful as Peter was and I doubt a lot. And many times I labour without catching anything and frustration really comes in. But still it is Duc In Altum.
How did I adopt the motto? In January 13, 1988, when I was received into the Catholic Church at the Cathedral of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the Military Bishop asked me what would my motto be. And I chose Duc In Altum. The Bishop then applied the oil of chrismation and I was confirmed and made in ancient Christian tradition, a knight.
I have other mottoes that guide my life. The Jesuit motto Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam is one since I was received in Saint Ignatius Cathedral and my dad’s motto Duty, Honour and Country.
Still The Master of the Ship always commands me to Duc In Altum. And I have to trust him. One hand for myself and one for the ship under the command of the Master.