Villa Junior Ring Mass 2019

     While the earliest rings date back nearly 5,000 years to the Ancient Egyptians[1], the class ring is a modern invention that didn’t come into existence until 1835 when the graduating class at West Point decided to have rings made to commemorate their achievement and signify the brotherhood that would remain with them throughout their lives.[2] Similarly your class ring is intended to be a sign of unity with your class, your school, and the worldwide sisterhood of the Sacred Heart.

     While simple in appearance, these class rings symbolize something great. Like the wedding ring many of you will have placed on your finger by someone you love, this ring you receive today is a sign of fidelity, a sign of commitment, a sign of your willingness to serve one another out of love. Much like how the bread and wine, which will be brought forward in just a few moments, will be transformed by God into His Body and Blood and offered back to us for our spiritual nourishment, these rings will be blessed, transformed, and given back to you carrying God’s presence through your journey here at Villa and through the rest of your life.

     Ultimately for this ring to have any meaning it has to be more than a piece of jewelry, it has to be a symbol. Yes, a symbol of all the work you have already completed here at Villa, but even more importantly it must be a symbol of what you have yet to do. A Sacred Heart ring is not a trophy for what has been accomplished, it is a commitment to sacrifice and self-surrender. Those two hearts on your ring implore you to surrender the great power your education affords you for the sake of using your education for the benefit of all mankind and not simply yourself. Those two hearts beseech you to surrender the great wealth and influence your potential provides you for the sake of the common good. Simply put, your Sacred Heart education has not empowered you to be served but to serve.

     The ring you will receive today is certainly a reminder of the struggle you have endured to get here and more importantly of the struggle yet to be endured on the pilgrimage of life. As you live that struggle allow your ring to be a reminder of today’s Gospel which teaches us not to allow the mistakes of the past to determine the greatness of our future. Jesus teaches us not to allow the weakness of the bad times that can surround us to determine the good that we can do. He encourages us in today’s Gospel not to allow the expectations of a troubled world to determine the kind of woman you are and will be. He challenges you to rise above simple popular opinion and make the choice you know are for the good of all and not just for yourself.

     While shinny and new today, the allure of your ring will eventually wear away. Over time your ring will be tarnished, become too small to wear, lost, or tossed in a drawer only to be brought out at your 10, 20, and 50 year reunions, but no matter what physically happens to your ring, what it represents will last forever. So let this ring you receive today serve as a constant reminder not simply of a legacy, tradition or accomplishment but let it serve as a reminder of a trust in God that calls you to serve, to act, and to answer His call.

[1] Tait, Hugh, ed. (2006) 7000 years of Jewelry. British Museum Press, 23 – 24.

[2] “Ring melt ceremony bonds past with future” United States Military Academy

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