The Field Guide: An Introduction to Exodus

Christ calls us to live an uncommon freedom so that we might become who we truly are. If this is your first experience of Exodus, welcome! If it's been a while since your last Exodus spiritual exercise, welcome back.

Christ calls us to live an uncommon freedom so that we might become who we truly are. If this is your first experience of Exodus, welcome! If it’s been a while since your last Exodus spiritual exercise, welcome back.

Exodus has helped tens of thousands of men since it was founded in 2015 by embracing three essential elements of conversion: prayer, asceticism (acts of self-denial), and fraternity. These elements, or pillars, are based on Christ’s own roadmap to freedom–freedom to love and serve our families and the Church as God calls us. The three pillars of Exodus apply year-round. During penitential seasons (like Exodus 90 or Lent), our habits of prayer, asceticism, and fraternity are more austere. But during celebratory seasons (like Easter and Christmas), we strive to live these three pillars in a way that is sustainable for the long term. During the Church’s time throughout the year, such as the summer weeks following Pentecost or during Autumn, we work to sustain our practices and avoid any letdown.

The Power of Prayer

How do we receive the power of Christ’s freedom? First of all, it flows from prayer–even more than from sacrifice. Many Exodus Men face a major temptation to cut back on daily prayer or cut it out altogether. Men are often concerned about how much time they spend away from their families when they take on daily prayer. What will daily prayer look like? During this exercise, you are called to commit yourself to a weekly holy hour, along with a core twenty minutes of silent prayer each day. When you are making the full holy hour, at least twenty minutes of silent, contemplative prayer in open conversational time with God should be a part of the hour.

The Gift of Asceticism

Asceticism, or acts of self-denial, flow from and support prayer. God has given us the gift of asceticism to unite ourselves with him in a more complete way. When we practice asceticism, we do so in a sanctified manner only when we rely on God, who first provides us the grace and invitation to do it—never by our own self-assertion or as our personal accomplishment. The Church defines penance as the interior “conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to others” (CCC 1434). Acts of penance are outward signs of this inward conversion that express contrition and love for God. Practicing asceticism as penance helps you toward a profound conversion. It will aid you in making the reorientation of life you seek, away from idolatry and toward unity with Christ—from slavery to freedom.

The disciplines of prayer, asceticism, and fraternity are designed to help you unite inner conversion and external acts of penance, to provide you with a framework for success. God prompts our conversion of heart. He invites us to acts of asceticism as penance, and he will provide us with the grace to live out each act of discipline—if we daily choose to accept his loving grace. The suffering of saying “no” to a hot shower on Fridays may be difficult, for example, but if you see that your “no” is really a silent “yes” as an offering to the Lord, then your mindset will change. Instead of being annoyed by the “no,” you become grateful that you now have a “yes”—a gift that can benefit your wife, your children, and your friends—to offer to the Lord. This comes through uniting your sacrifice to the cross and prayerfully offering the sacrifice to the Lord for your specific intention—your why.

We All Need Fraternity

Exodus Life is not lived in isolation. It is just as much a practice in fraternity as it is in prayer or asceticism. If you feel resistance against this, it may point to a real need in your life, as too few men have had the gift of real fraternity. Now is your chance to grow in this area. Living a life of authentic Christian fraternity is powerful. A fraternity can pick us up when we fall and lighten the load of living an intentional life. The surest way to become a better man is to surround ourselves with other men who share the same goal. These men can keep us accountable, lift us up, support us in their prayers, and lovingly share difficult moments in our lives.

Gather your Brothers

  • If you don’t have full fraternity of 5-7 men yet, prayerfully consider the men in your life who you think could benefit from an Exodus of their own. Invite them to join you on this journey.
  • If you’re struggling to find brothers to join you, head to the Fraternity Finder to create or join a remote group.
  • Find time to meet with your whole fraternity each week. Stay faithful to these meetings.

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