The Key to Exodus 90: Fraternity
The problem with the world is that men do not spend enough time with other men. Jesus, himself, saw the value of fraternity when he took his apostles out into the desert to keep vigil while sitting under the stars and before a glowing fire. Imagine all that was discussed, taught, and revealed on such an occasion!
Exodus would simply not work without the structure of brotherhood. Every participant in the Exodus program has emphatically confirmed that the fraternal bonds that kept the men together and moving forward for 90 days was the key to his success. Fraternity, like prayer, cannot be compromised. Men develop sexual addiction in the darkness of loneliness: for years believing that, he alone, struggles miserably – like a slave to a wicked master. Surprised though he is, he finds his brothers suffer a shared plight. Together, as brothers united in “dour combat,” they can help one another overcome sexual addiction or any other obstacle. Thus, man makes man.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church recognizes this phenomenon. “The virtue of chastity blossoms in friendship. It shows the disciple how to follow and imitate him [Jesus] who has chosen us as his friends, who has given himself totally to us and allows us to participate in his divine estate…” Jesus goes so far as to demonstrate the uncompromising requirement of friendship in spiritual progress. We see this in an unlikely place in the Gospel of St. Mark. As Jesus left Jerusalem on his way to Golgotha during his passion, he required the assistance of a certain “passer-by” named Simon of Cyrene. Simon was “coming in from the country” and, shoulder to shoulder with Christ, was pressed to carry the cross. Thus we see that even Jesus, when nearly overcome by his circumstances, had a brother in which to turn. Men must re-learn what Jesus taught… that when a man picks up his cross, he, like Jesus, nearly always needs the help of a devoted brother.
Perhaps this is a truth mostly lost to modern men, but it has not always been so. St. Ignatius of Loyola wrote to a disciple, “But I also hope that in your brotherhood you will find a great mutual help. In it you will find a brother ready to wait upon a fallen companion, to sustain the wavering, to stimulate the laggard by word and example, so that, ʽministering the same [grace] one to another’ (1 Peter 4:10), you prepare yourselves to receive fresh graces from the Father, since wherever two or three are gathered together to ask a favor it will be granted, as Truth Itself has promised.”