Why Exodus 90 Is Not "Another Church Program"
Let’s Start With Why
Exodus 90 is all about freedom. Why? Because without freedom, we cannot love as we ought. It’s about our wives, children, parishes and friends who suffer when we’re not at our best. The goal is to achieve the freedom necessary to fully engage the love of God and the love of neighbor. Exodus 90 is based on a challenging 90-day period of purification, a dying to self, which is supported by a fraternity of like-minded men for greater interior freedom and, eventually, a more purified and selfless love.
The experience is designed for men, and is particularly effective for:
- Men discerning a vocation
- Men preparing for marriage
- A step toward recovery for men struggling with an addiction
Most importantly Exodus 90 is for men who have difficulty finding God and desire to radically unite themselves to their Heavenly Father. Exodus 90 is not a program of penance and self-abasement. It is a program for men who seek, together, to strive for a more-perfect freedom. This is the cornerstone of the exercise and much will be lost if that is forgotten.
“And behold, two men talked with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his EXODUS, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem [where he was to suffer]” (Luke 9:30-31)
What Can I Expect to Give Up During Exodus 90?
Exodus 90 has three pillars: prayer, asceticism, and fraternity. All three taken together lead to freedom. This isn’t a “secret formula” or something new. This is the tradition of the Church! And in a particular way, in the same spirit as the Desert Fathers of the 3rd and 4th centuries. In fact, there’s really nothing flashy about this; all that’s been done is to re-present the Catholic tradition to men who are often unaware of the rich heritage they have received. And that’s why it’s working! Let’s take the pillars one by one:
I) Fraternity: The Exodus 90 fraternity consists of 5-7 men and a spiritual director. These fraternities are flesh-and-blood fraternities; not online. We do not connect you with other men. Invite men from the parish, work, or neighborhood to make this journey with you. There’s no better way to revive your Knights of Columbus chapter or your TMIY group as going through this spiritual exercise. And if you do not have a fraternity already, it’s time to be a protagonist and form one. Men are isolated today, and your invitation could be life-changing to someone near you. Also, ask a priest, a man who has already made his Exodus, or another wise man to guide your fraternity. These fraternities are to meet 3 times/week for no more than 30 minutes. Minimum: 1 meeting/week. These meetings are an opportunity for the men to give a self-report for accountability, to receive encouragement from the brotherhood, and wisdom from the mentor.
II) Prayer: Each man is to commit to a holy hour each day. Minimum: 20 minutes. Where possible this is to take place with the other brothers of the Exodus 90 fraternity. The ninety scriptures from the book of Exodus and the corresponding meditations and action items are meant to guide a man’s prayer throughout the 90 days of Exodus. That said, the presence of our Lady in the Rosary is imperative.
III) Asceticism: cold-lukewarm/short showers; no alcohol; no desserts & sweets; no eating between meals; no soda or sweetened drinks; no television or movies (without permission of group); only music that lifts the soul to God; no televised sports (without permission of group); computer for work/school only; regular and intense exercise; group holy hour & meetings; no major material purchases (beyond toiletries, etc., without permission of group); and seven hours of sleep each night is essential.
Where Did Exodus 90 Come From?
As Catholics, we’re inundated with programs, liturgical season after liturgical season. It feels a bit like spiritual consumerism in the Church, doesn’t it? Exodus 90 is not another program by Catholic-preneurs or big publishing houses. It has a powerful and authentic story, and one that’s worth telling. Exodus 90 arose in response to a profound need: the formation of young priests. It was developed by Father Brian Doerr and seminarians at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary (Emmitsburg, MD) who, having been raised in a society enslaved to sin, longed for a more perfect personal freedom as they anticipated service in the Church. These were good men, men who had already decided that, in response to God’s call, they would give themselves entirely to the work and ministry of the Church.
Exodus 90 was piloted by ten different groups of seminarians from 2013-2015. Having experienced similar successes, year after year, we launched Exodus 90 to bishops, priests and laymen across America (and the world!). 750 men took up the challenge in the first year. But, in preparation for Easter 2017, the “program” experienced great growth. More than 3,000 men registered in Exodus 90 fraternities across the country. The best is yet to come for 2018, especially with ninety days marking the time between January 1 and the coming of our Lord at Easter.
Who’s Doing Exodus 90?
Religious Affiliation: 95% – Roman Catholic / 3% – Protestant / 2% – Orthodox
State in Life: 60% – Married / 30% – Single / 10% – Priests & Religious
Age: 60% – 20-39 / 30% – 40-59 / 5% – 60+ / 5% – 19 and under
Geography: Every state of the U.S.A. / Canada / Mexico, Brazil / England, France, Ireland, Slovakia