During these final weeks of Lent before Holy Week, you may be at one of the Sunday Masses in which the scrutinies are celebrated with the elect—those preparing for Baptism at the Easter vigil. The scrutinies are three rites celebrated during the period of purification and enlightenment of the RCIA process to help prepare the elect for Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist. So what is the purpose of the scrutinies?
“In order to inspire in the elect a desire for purification and redemption by Christ, three scrutinies are celebrated. By this means, first of all, the elect are instructed gradually about the mystery of sin, from which the whole world and every person longs to be delivered and thus saved from its present and future consequences. Second, their spirit is filled with Christ the Redeemer, who is the living water (gospel of the Samaritan woman in the first scrutiny), the light of the world (gospel of the man born blind in the second scrutiny), the resurrection and the life (gospel of Lazarus in the third scrutiny). From the first to the final scrutiny the elect progress in their perception of sin and their desire for salvation.
The scrutinies...are rites for self-searching and repentance and have above all 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. For 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. These rites, therefore, 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.” (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults 130, 128)
Growing up, I was baptized in the Mormon Church, but I was never really that into church. When my wife and I decided to start having kids, we knew we wanted to raise our kids in a faithful household, and since my wife grew up in the Catholic Church, we decided that the Catholic Church is where we wanted our family to go to connect with God. It was at this time I decided that I would join the RCIA so that our family could be one under God. The RCIA has helped deepen my understanding of God and the Catholic faith, and most importantly it taught me that marriage was God's plan and that it is the most sacred of sacraments.
My journey within RCIA and the Catholic faith has provided me with a closer connection to God, my family, and the understanding of what truly matters in life. While not instantaneous, each day I find myself more involved with prayer, finding new ways to seek happiness, and building my faith.
Before I started attending the RCIA at Corpus Christi, I had the pleasure of talking with Father King and Kathy Egle who both helped me to make the decision. During this journey they have been crucial in my growth in the Catholic faith along with everyone else that is part of the RCIA. With attending the RCIA, it has opened my eyes to what the Catholic faith is and has for me. I have grown in my belief and faith and I am looking forward to my baptism.
The RCIA experience has made me feel spiritually closer to my faith. RCIA has taught me how to pray for everybody, not just myself, and seeing how God answers our prayers has amplified my belief in Jesus. RCIA helped me start a relationship with Jesus. It has changed me as far as making me think about living in the Catholic life, and to pray to help spread the word and to bring my family into the Church. I see the world differently than before. Reading about the saints has opened my eyes to miracles and keeps me wanting to learn and read more. RCIA has given me a starting foundation to be part of the Catholic community. I like meeting new people and I’ve felt a connection with all the RCIA candidates through prayer partners. Their stories and prayers have been inspiring. The RCIA experience has been positive as I’ve learned a lot about myself and everyone’s perception of the translation of scripture has been very thought provoking. The special guest speakers brought a whole other view of the faith and showed a lot more insight into the subjects presented. They were a big help in making my faith stronger. Thank you to the entire RCIA team and what you do for us. It has been a good eye-opening experience. I want to continue to strengthen my faith and share with others and become more involved in the Catholic community.
Tyson — I began reading the early church fathers and found myself deep in history and unable to hold onto my Protestant faith. The Catholic Church really does have the answers. Catholics should never feel threatened by Protestants. Stand firm and know your Church's teachings. She really does have the answers and that is what brought me home. Once I realized where home was, my wife and I decided to go through RCIA. RCIA was important to me because I wanted to join the Church and I also wanted my wife to discover the same beauty and fascination about the Church as I did. As with anything worth doing, it was a struggle with our busy lives, but RCIA really did help us delve deeper into Christian truth, its history and practice so that we could appreciate the mystery and beauty that is the Catholic Church in ways we never thought possible. We are so glad to be coming home!
Angel — I grew up Catholic and was going through the motions as many cradle Catholics do. Eventually I walked away from the Church completely in my teens, as I never understood the teachings on a deeper level and the lifestyle simply did not coincide with my own will. After living a worldly life, tired and broken, I finally accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior through the Protestant church. Much of this I owe to my husband, Tyson. As my faith grew and questions became more frequent, I needed answers on tough subjects. Tyson would always help me through them and some of the questions pertained to the Catholic Church and our differing beliefs as Protestants. The more Tyson searched for the truth, the more he gave me answers on why the Catholic Church was the one true Church. We eventually decided to try RCIA and thought it would be a good fit for us, as we decided it would help me to understand the evidence of the Catholic faith. Since then, RCIA has taught me a lot about why it is Catholics believe in what they do and it has strengthened my faith, trust, and relationship with God. Besides having a deeper relationship with God, my favorite aspect of the Catholic Church is Reconciliation! It has given me the most healing I have ever received of all the sources of help and therapies I have sought for myself. I would encourage all Catholics and potential Catholics to look into all the graces available to them as a Catholic.
RCIA has impacted my life in many ways, especially spiritually, because ever since I started to come I have grown in my faith. These classes have helped me have a better connection with God and my prayer life has been easier to do now because RCIA has helped me with that.
RCIA has definitely been a life changing experience for me personally. Spiritually, I feel so much stronger in my relationship with God and his Love for me, the Church, and all of us—his children. RCIA helps me to engage that Love on many levels by utilizing the many prayers, mysteries, stories, and teachings of Jesus Christ, that only begin to scratch the surface of what really embodies the Catholic faith. RCIA helps remind me that my faith is to be practiced as often as possible by “praying as if everything depended on God, but working as if everything depended on me.” Thank you and God bless all RCIA and Team!
There are three other people in RCIA this year: Rogelio who is preparing for Confirmation, Alex who is preparing for Confirmation and Holy Eucharist, and Danielle who is preparing for Confirmation and Holy Eucharist. Please keep everyone in your prayers throughout these coming weeks!
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