Monday, March 5, 2007

What the Heck are Scrutinies? Baptism isn't as Easy as it Once Was!

Over the next three Sundays at the 10:00 am Mass, we will celebrate the RCIA scrutinies. For those who have been preparing to receive the Easter sacraments at the Easter vigil this April, the whole Lenten season is a time of more intense preparation. But in a special way, on the third, fourth and fifth Sundays of Lent, they will participate in a scrutiny rite within the Sunday Mass. Initially, this rite sounds a bit intimidating: to stand before the congregation to be scrutinized. But these weeks are not a time for the catechumens and candidates to be ‘scrutinized’ by the parish. Instead, it is the time for each of them to examine themselves and their journey as they approach the culmination of their preparation this Easter.

The rites 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.” (RCIA 141) As I have worked with the group, I have experienced first hand the growth the group has made toward Jesus and the seriousness with which they have thought and prayed in this process. Over the past five months, members of the St. Olaf staff and I have given presentations on various aspects of the life of the Church. There has been time for learning, small group sharing, and
discussion with those in the program and their sponsors. They have grown together as a group in the company of the entire parish. I encourage you to join me in prayer for these men and women as they enter this last phase of their preparation for Easter.

This time of examination is a chance for all of us to consider our Lenten experience and the progress we are making since we are also on a journey toward Easter. We have just about reached the halfway point of these 40 days of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. How is each of us doing?

Perhaps a little inventory of the journey would be appropriate at this time. We should each take time in our preparations to scrutinize our own lives and how we are growing in our relationship with Christ. How has my Lenten observance brought me closer to Christ? How has my attitude been toward prayer, fasting and almsgiving? Has life during these past three weeks been in any way different than it was in ordinary time and if so, how? Do I have the same zeal with which I began Lent?

There are still plenty of opportunities to grow during this Lenten season. In these coming weeks, let us pray for and encourage one another as we journey together toward Easter when we will be renewed in spirit to celebrate the joys of Easter. Father Mark Pavlik, St Olaf Parish, Minneapolis

Wow, Lent will be about half over next Sunday?

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