The Rite of Election
From the early days of the Church, adults seeking to become Christians began a process that could last several years. They were called catechumens, and had a sponsor who gradually introduced them to the Christian practices.
As they moved toward baptism, there were various rituals along the way. For example, catechumens came to Mass on Sundays, but only for the first part. After the homily they were ritually dismissed with blessings, so that they could study together that days Scripture readings.
When their formation was completed, the next Lenten season was to be their final preparation for baptism. On the first Sunday of that Lent, they were presented to the bishop who heard members of the Christian community testify on their behalf. They were then formally accepted as candidates to be baptized at Easter. They were no longer catechumens, but the elect and came forward one by one to sign the Book of the Elect.
Over the centuries as Christian communities became more established and most of those being received into the Church were infants, this process -- designed for adults began to wane. However, in the Vatican II restoration of traditions, the RCIA (Rite for the Christian Initiation of Adults) was once again set in place.
Today, in cathedrals around the world, bishops are presiding at the Rite of Election for those preparing for baptism.
Temptation in the Desert
Todays Gospel is about the temptation of Jesus the temptation to let his humanity draw Jesus away from the Fathers plan.
This temptation would surface again when Jesus struggled in the Garden of Gethsemane with his imminent death on the cross. It just didnt seem to be the way to do it.
Temptations come to us according to the unique patterns of our own life. We all face basic temptations. But the difficult ones the recurring ones are those that have to do with our own life circumstances, our own temperament, the contours of our own personality.
That often comes out when we go to confession. Maybe we feel like : My confessions are always the same . . . its the same list of sins. But that doesnt necessarily mean that we are failing to make progress or that we are not examining our conscience properly.
Just as a particular temptation fit the unique circumstances of Jesus life, and he had to deal with it throughout his entire public life, so I have some in my life and those struggles will probably be the core of the majority of my confessions. I will probably have to struggle with them until the day I die.
But if I am struggling, and I am also trying to do a good job, then those are the things that should come up in confession, because those are the special needs I have . . . . needs that have to be exposed to the grace and healing of God.
Spend some quiet time with the Lord.