Grow in devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and his real presence in the Eucharist.

Summer–that time of vacation, cookouts, and the pool–is also a time to celebrate our fathers and the way Pentecost shapes the life of the Church. The great feasts of June–Corpus Christi, the Sacred Heart, the Birth of John the Baptist, and St. Peters and Paul–show how the Body of Christ in the world is sustained from within by the Eucharist and is prepared to go out into the world to witness to Christ.

Summer does not have to be a downtime in faith. In fact, with the gift of leisure, we can enter more freely into the treasures of the Church. In our June exercise, we seek to grow in our devotion to the gift of Christ’s Body and Blood in the Most Holy Eucharist and through it to enter more deeply into the love of Jesus’s Sacred Heart. Just as our bodies become tabernacles of the Lord’s presence when we receive Communion, so our families can become places where Jesus dwells if we enthrone him in our homes. The beginning of June gives us time to pray and meditate on the love of Jesus’s heart in order to make a formal enthronement of the image of the Sacred Heart in our home on June 7th, the feast of the Sacred Heart.

As our schedules change in the summer, so we must adjust our Plan of Life seeking to maintain consistency of prayer and to remain in control of our media use and habits of eating and drinking. Not only can we hold on to our spiritual progress but we also can use the summer to grow, using our additional free time for the things that matter most: God, family, and service. Your Plan of Life allows you to tailor a plan to your own needs and schedule.

In June, we’ll also begin a book club on Bishop Erik Varden’s amazing book Chastity: Reconciliation of the Senses. Bishop Varden shows us there’s much more to the virtue of chastity than we have imagined. It stands at the center of God’s plan for us to grow in mature love and to discover the true meaning of happiness. Chasity calls forth self-knowledge within the great drama of overcoming sin’s division of the person, which allows the beauty of love to blossom within and around us. We’ll meet Wednesday evenings at 8pm EST for five weeks, beginning June 12th.

Here’s how it works exactly:

🙏 Prayer

  • Read the Daily Reflections
  • 20 Minutes of Silent Prayer
  • Examine your Day
  • Make one Holy Hour each week
  • Celebrate the Lord’s Day

Why?

The most important part of our Plan of Life is prayer. Making time for prayer each day is essential. Yes, we need other spiritual disciplines, which help us to become the men we are called to be. But, if we are not first transformed by the grace of Jesus Christ from within, everything is off and destined for failure.

Prayer is conversation with God. And it’s not so unlike our normal human interactions and relationships. It is through prayer that we enter into our relationship with God, and as Fr. Boniface Hicks writes in Personal Prayer, vulnerability “is the key to the most fruitful prayer” and “the meeting point of God and man.” We listen. We hear. We share. We ask. We dream.

If you have been journeying with us throughout Exodus 90, Lent, and Easter, hopefully you have grown in your capacity and confidence in prayer. It’s important that we build upon this foundation. Our Scripture readings have been taken from the letters of Saint Peter, and our reflections will help us to enter into the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit.

In addition to reading or listening to the daily Scripture and reflection, we encourage you to spend at least twenty minutes in silent prayer, and to commit to one holy hour per week. If you can pray more than that, by all means, please do. Consider this to be a baseline for daily communion with God. In addition, offer your first thoughts to God with a morning offering and your last thoughts to God in a nightly examen. You can find support for these prayers here. Consider adding other prayers like a Rosary or Divine Mercy chaplet, and other spiritual reading as personal disciplines for your plan of life.

From experience, most men find it easier to pray early in the morning or late at night, and it is most likely to happen if we schedule our prayer time and make it a priority in our Plan of Life each day. With our Plan of Life as a helpful guide, we can be sure to put the most important thing as the foundation of our days.

🚿 Asceticism

  • Cold Shower Fridays
  • No Meat Fridays

Why?

“If any wish to come after me, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

Asceticism means acts of self-denial. Though often underemphasized in our time, all throughout Church history we see in teaching and in the lives of the saints the importance of asceticism in the life of the apprentice of Jesus Christ.

It is obviously not our Father’s plan for us to return to patterns of sin nor are we to indulge to the point of excess.. As our Spiritual Guide, Jake Khym, wisely writes:

Binge-ing is rooted in distrust and self-reliance. Feasting is rooted in trust and security. If I am trying to fill an empty hole in my heart or manage my distress that I don’t trust can be taken care of by authentic love, then I’m likely to try to satisfy myself. This self-reliance can often be the root of binge-ing. Feasting isn’t about self-reliance; it’s about celebration for and with others that have trust and security as a foundation. So much of this comes down to the honest desire and intention of our heart.

Because we have and continue to practice forms of asceticism, we are able to enter more deeply into celebration as only Christians can. Self-denial disposes our souls to the joy, peace, and freedom of the central event of human history: the Resurrection. And because God invites us into his family through the Church, our celebrations should be in common with our brothers and sisters. We encourage you to extend the bonds of brotherhood that you have formed into the Easter season with a celebratory feast to mark the moment with your families and friends.

Our baseline Plan of Life during the Summer includes a few small acts of asceticism including Cold Shower Fridays and No Meat Fridays. We encourage you to take time to add other disciplines to your Plan of Life, which will help you to raise your soul and heart to God.

It’s important to remember that asceticism is not about proving something to yourself, showing that you are strong enough to others, or earning God’s grace. Asceticism is a means to something far more important than it. St. Jerome, in the fourth century, said it perfectly: “Be on your guard when you begin to mortify your body by abstinence and fasting, lest you imagine yourself to be perfect and a saint; for perfection does not consist in this virtue. It is only a help; a disposition; a means though a fitting one, for the attainment of true perfection.” True perfection consists in loving God and neighbor, and asceticism leads to that perfection.

All too often, we have powerful experiences of the penitential seasons, only to find ourselves let down and disappointed in the seasons of celebration. It shouldn’t be this way. This problem, which we have all experienced, is the reason we will continue our Plan of Life during the Summer months, as a helpful guide to support you throughout this season of feasting and celebration. This year can be different.

✌️ Fraternity

  • Regular Fraternity Meeting
  • If you need help building your brotherhood, check out the NEW Community tab on the Exodus 90 app where you can see local fraternities near you, or you can join a remote fraternity on the app as well.

Why?

There are many treasures that men find lying within Exodus spiritual exercises. One of the most common is the brotherhood that naturally forms from the experience.

Men find themselves in the bonds of brotherhood through accomplishing a task. Having pursued a life of freedom through prayer and asceticism over the past few months, the bonds of true Christian brotherhood that form can endure for years. If your fraternity experience was not what you had hoped, the Summertime is a great time to invite a few men into fraternity with you.

The most common question that men ask is how often they should meet with their fraternity. This question is most appropriately answered by you. How often is realistic? You may be able to continue meeting each week, or you may need the cadence to be every other week or once per month.

What’s important is that we do not go back to the isolation that so many men suffer from today. Alone we are so susceptible to the whims, temptations, and empty show of the devil. We need to have brothers who know who we are, what we are going through, and to whom we can be accountable.

Exodus fraternities are one of the few places in the world where men can open up and be honest with each other. It’s not about who you know, what you have accomplished, or how you’ve got it all together. Exodus fraternities are meant to be the opposite of this worldly perspective of masculinity. Exodus fraternities are the place to be real about the struggles that we all experience as men today in our secular world.

Remember that it is never too late to invite a man into your fraternity, even in the Summer months. Please pray about who you should invite, and when the Holy Spirit invites you to invite a man that surprises you, please do not say “no.” Exodus fraternities are not places for perfect Catholic or Christian men. Because none of us are. Invite the man that God places on your heart, whether he practices the faith or not, and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.

🚀  Encouragement

We live in a fallen world, and challenges exist in every age because of the consequences of sin and the influence of the devil. And this will always be the case. A Christian vision does not seek utopia, which is non-existent and literally means “no-place,” but for the coming of God’s kingdom in the fullness of time when every tear will be wiped away and death will be no more.

However, the challenges of our secular age are immense, and we all feel it.

We live in the first age after the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ two thousand years ago, that lives without him, in the growing unbelief that is plaguing the western world today.

When we look out, into the world and even into the realities of the Church, it’s so common for men to lose hope. Is this what God meant for his people? What would our fathers in the faith think, they who shed their blood to preserve it? “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

It’s common to despair, and to become critical, cynical, and sarcastic. And it’s easy to sit around and wait for our leaders to do something about it.

But, men, this is our time…

This is the time that our Father, in his perfect and loving providence, has entrusted to each one of us. We were not created for the past, or the future, but for now.

What’s uncommon for men today, is to embrace the opportunity that lies in every challenge and to do something about it; what’s uncommon is to take to the ancient path that you have begun to trod in prayer, asceticism, and fraternity; and what’s uncommon then, is to respond as generously as possible to the unique graces and gifts that God bestows uniquely upon you.

The influence of a good and holy man like you, who receives his identity from God as a son, and who then shares the love of God with those that have been entrusted to his care (especially his wife, children, brothers and sisters in the faith, and local community), cannot be measured.

There is literally no greater influence on whether or not a child will practice the faith as an adult as the faithfulness of their father. Which is to say that the fruits of a faithful man’s life redound to generations and into eternity with invisible and everlasting power.
It is no wonder that the authentic Christian vision of masculinity has been attacked, warped, and forgotten over the past many decades. Because the faith of the future depends upon you, the fathers of the faith.

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