Individuals who have been in preparation and have asked to come into the Catholic Church have entered into the Period of Purification and Enlightenment. This period customarily coincides with Lent. In the liturgy and the catechesis sessions the reminder of baptism already received or the preparation for its reception, as well as the theme of repentance, renew the entire community along with those being prepared to celebrate the paschal mystery, in which each of the elect (individuals not baptized) will share through the sacraments of initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) at the Easter Vigil.
This is a period of more intense spiritual preparation, consisting more in interior reflection than in instruction, and is intended to purify the minds and hearts of the elect as they search their own consciences and do penance. This period is intended as well to enlighten the minds and hearts of the elect and those already baptized who are asking for full initiation into the faith through the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist, with a deeper knowledge of Christ the Savior. The celebration of certain rites, particularly the scrutinies and the presentations brings about this process of purification and enlightenment and extends it over the course of the entire Lenten season.
The scrutinies, which are solemnly celebrated on Sundays, are rites for self-searching and repentance and have a spiritual purpose. The scrutinies are meant to uncover, then heal all that is weak, defective, or sinful in the hearts of the elect; to bring out, then strengthen all that is upright, strong, and good. The scrutinies are celebrated in order to deliver the elect from the power of sin and Satan; to protect them against temptation; and to give them strength in Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life.
While rites should complete the conversion of the elect and deepen their resolve to hold fast to Christ and to carry out their decision to love God above all; they are also an opportunity for all the baptized to reflect on their commitment to serve Christ and love God above all. Three scrutinies are celebrated. First, the elect are gradually instructed about the mystery of sin, from which the whole world and every person longs to be delivered. Second, their spirit is filled with Christ the Redeemer, who is the living water, the light of the world, and the resurrection and the life. From the first to the final scrutiny the elect will progress in their perception of sin and their desire for salvation.
On February 28 at the 11 a.m. Mass we will celebrate the First Scrutiny. Please keep our Elect and Candidates for full Communion in your prayers throughout this Lenten season.