Why Exodus Is Not Just for Chastity
Radical Spiritual Growth
Men secure in the freedom of chastity may elect to join an Exodus Fraternity for the sake of radical spiritual growth.
In the Letter of St. James, we find enough to convict us of our need for Exodus. St. James wrote in the fourth chapter of his letter: “Unfaithful creatures! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is in vain that the scripture says, ‘He yearns jealously over the spirit which he has made to dwell in us’”? Making a quick examination of our lives might reveal just how enmeshed we truly are in the world: consider where we place our efforts and our energies; consider our day-to-day priorities; and consider what immediately threatens us. “For where your treasure is,” Our Lord reminded us, “there will your heart be also.” This simple examination is enough to spark spiritual awareness and, therefore, reveal to us the benefits of the Exodus program.
If you find yourself given over to this passing world, you would do well to understand clearly the implications of the situation of which St. James warns us: that our friendship with the world makes us hostile to God! Whether we intend this hostility or not is irrelevant to St. James. The truth is, we place ourselves in grave spiritual danger when we are so full of the things of this world – and so utterly focused on anything other than God. Married, single, celibate matters little. You are a son of the Most High God and he means to dwell with you by the “spirit which he has made to dwell in us”. Know that this cannot happen if we have burdened ourselves by the transitory things of this world.
With great confidence, St. James reminds us: “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you men of double mind. Be wretched and mourn and weep… Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you.” A practical plan of asceticism, as detailed in Exodus, can easily create the conditions needed to fulfill the urgings of St. James. Men who have completed the 90 day journey will often return to Exodus for Advent and Lent as a means to “cleanse hands and purify hearts”.
Regrettably, many men will resist the challenge and will not find the program necessary. Many have more important work to do or are not willing to empty themselves before God. St. James, pressing us again, counsels: “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” Truly, your life may be a mist that appears and vanishes, but your life with God will last forever. Ponder this with much thought. As for Exodus 90, if not today, then soon.