A Ritual Journey: The Second Scrutiny
The Second Scrutiny follows the Presentation of the Creed on the Fourth Sunday in Lent. As we saw with the First Scrutiny, the orientation and purpose of the scrutinies in the modern RCIA is for the elect to “renounce sin and evil and profess faith in the Triune God at their baptism” (Guide for Celebrating Christian Initiation with Adults, 58). The Second Scrutiny follows the same pattern as the first:
- Readings from Series A (John 9: the man born blind, seeking to illuminate the lives of the elect)
- Homily (which includes exploration of the meaning of the scrutiny)
- Silent prayer by the presider, sponsors, elect, and the assembly
- Intercessions for the elect
- Exorcism Prayer
- Dismissal of the elect
The Second Scrutiny according to the account of Jesus’ healing of the man born blind emphasizes to the elect the ways in which blindness might affect them and where they need the light of Christ “so that they might see the truth” (Guide, 60). The intercessions over the elect highlight the following: “God may dispel darkness and be the light”; “lead them to Christ, the light of the world”; and “That our elect may…acknowledge God as the source of light and the witness of truth” (RCIA Study Edition, 97). The exorcism prayers further open up these themes. As one of them prays,
“Father of mercy, you led the man born blind to the kingdom of light through the gift of faith in your Son. Free these elect from the false values that surround and blind them. Set them firmly in your truth, children of the light forever. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen (RCIA Study Edition, 98).
Silent prayer calls the elect, and the assembly, to self-examination and repentance in light of the themes enunciated in the scrutiny texts. It leads them toward enlivened faith in the Triune God who pours himself upon them in their baptismal enlightenment. Like the First Scrutiny, in this second instance the elect are directed toward their liberation from sin, evil, and the power of satan.