The scrutiny rites, held on the last three Sundays of Lent, are ancient and may, at first, seem strange. These very special rites are celebrated at liturgies where the Elect are present.
The Elect are those preparing for Baptism, usually performed at the Easter Vigil. Part of the journey of the Elect to the font is having been received into the community at the Rite of Acceptance, and having been enrolled in the Book of the Elect in the Rite of Election held with the Bishop within the Cathedral.
Even if these rites are not celebrated in the parish, it can be wonderful to reflect upon the journey these Elect are making during Lent, as an inspiration and source of renewal for one’s own spiritual journey.
The scrutinies, which are solemnly celebrated on Third, Fourth and Fifth Sundays of Lent, are reinforced by an exorcism, and are rites for self-searching and repentance and have above all a spiritual purpose.
They are profoundly rooted in the human experience. The scrutinies are meant to uncover, and 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. (9:17)