Why Exodus 90 Is Not "Another" Parish Program
Let’s Start With Why
Exodus 90 is all about freedom. The goal is to achieve the freedom necessary to fully engage the love of God and the love of neighbor. Exodus 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 is not a program of penance and self-abasement. It is a program for men who seek, together, to strive for 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)
Where Did Exodus 90 Come From?
Exodus 90 was developed at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary by Fr. Brian Doerr (the former Vice Rector of Human Formation) and young seminarians 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 10 different groups of seminarians from 2013-2015. Having experienced similar successes, year after year, the team at Those Catholic Men launched Exodus 90 as its first ministry. 750 men took up the challenge in the first year. But, in preparation for Easter 2017, the “program” blew up (in a good way!). More than 2,500 men registered in Exodus fraternities across the country. The best is yet to come…
What Can I Expect to Give Up During Exodus?
Exodus has three pillars: prayer, asceticism, and fraternity. All three taken together lead to freedom. This isn’t the “secret formula” or something new. This is the tradition of the Church. Read the Early Church Fathers. In fact, there’s really nothing flashy about this; all we’re trying to do is 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 fraternity consists of 5-7 men and a spiritual director. These fraternities are flesh-and-blood fraternities; not online. You make your team from men you know and that are near to you. Ask a priest or other wiser man to guide your fraternity. These fraternities are to meet 3 times/week for no more than 30 minutes. Minimum: 1 meeting/week. These 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 fraternity. The ninety Exodus mediations 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 school/work 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.
What Exodus Men Say Afterwards
By God’s grace and the authenticity of this experience, results have been extraordinary. Men are growing in freedom. More men are encountering the need for asceticism in daily life. Here’s an early testimonial from one of the original seminarians:
“In order to battle pornography, be detached from the world, grow in holiness/sanctity, love more fully, and have more meaningful relationships, you need freedom. There is no mystery about how to grow in freedom, but it is difficult and only begins by paradoxically surrendering to God. In Exodus, you grow in freedom by: increasing your will through acts of self-denial and penance, increasing your prayer which is necessary to be disposed to the graces to accomplish this work of God within you, detaching from things of the world through a sort of “dark night of the senses”, relying upon others and ultimately God through prayer and fraternity, allowing oneself to be filled by the love of God by emptying oneself of love of every worldly thing, and exposing the world for what it is: thy ship and not thy home.”
“I am 55 years old and struggled with my addiction to porn since I was 12 years old. I tried everything over the years to no avail. The Exodus 90 day program was a dream come true. Not only did it help me break my addiction, it improved my life in so many other ways. The program taught me how to discipline myself in all aspects of my life. I am so much happier, healthier and focused. When I am at work, I work more efficiently so that I have more time to spend with my family. One of the greatest gifts I received through the Exodus program is that the end of the 90 days coincided with my wife’s and my 25th wedding anniversary. For the first time in 25 years of marriage, I was able to present my wife with a chaste husband on our anniversary.”
“Before starting Exodus, I was like most: stressed to the max, chasing my tail, and never getting anywhere. By casting off the many distractions that plagued me and gaining the support and accountability of my team, I’ve found that I now have the energy needed to give of myself to my family and the desire to share the love of Christ with others. Now, life has seemingly slowed down, and I truly am able to enjoy the encounters with my kids and can listen to my wife and begin to appreciate who she is for our family. The journey has enabled me to put things in their proper order even though I still have the same amount of work and responsibility.”
“My journey through Exodus 90 began with the the first ten days of sheer joy of something new and refreshing: Silence. Reflection. New fraternity with guys in my group. Around day 20, the disciplines felt unbearable and unrealistic. I had doubts in myself and considered quitting. I craved distraction and my old comforts. By day 39, our team was feeling the weight of self-denial and discouragement. “We have almost finished a 40 day Lent…and we aren’t even halfway yet.” 50 more days felt like too long. However, around days 50-60, our team became more naturally habituated to the disciplines. One can only understand this by experiencing it. A sense of resolve and peace entered into my life. By day 90, I did not want it to end. I had become a new man and I liked sincerely like the man who I had become. I now feel as if there is an secret tabernacle within my chest into which I can retreat and be silent with Jesus Christ. I had felt this place before, but during Exodus 90 I found this inner core and learned to retreat there. The rhythm of prayer and and the asceticism of Exodus 90 helped me find this inner place of peace, and I’m grateful for that. Even after the 90 days are over, I still have it. If you are a man who feels discouraged, depressed, or complacent, I exhort you to try Exodus 90 and find Christ again – and find yourself again.”
How Do I Start Exodus 90?
To get started, click the “Get Started” tab. Purchase and download the Exodus Guide (.pdf). A welcome / starter email will be sent to your inbox. After completing the 5 Steps to Accomplishing Exodus (below), click the “Start Exodus” button found on your welcome / starter email. Be sure that each man in your fraternity initiates Exodus on the same day so that your team is in sync. Upon clicking, you will be automatically enrolled in 90 days of meditations that take you through the biblical book of Exodus. These emails offer you a reflection with corresponding tasks to accomplish. They are meant to keep you focused as you accomplish your Exodus.
5 Steps to Accomplishing Exodus:
- Create a band of brothers to join you on your journey
- Plan and prioritize weekly meetings
- Find an accountability partner within your Exodus fraternity
- If possible, pursue communicating with a priest or other mentor to act as a spiritual director for your Exodus fraternity
- Adapt your daily schedule to the Exodus regimen, read and reflect on the daily emails received through registration in the Exodus program
[Visit our Fraternal Support Center for frequently asked questions about Exodus 90.]