Cold showers, fasting, prayer: 90-day Catholic bootcamp helps free men enslaved to sin
Sign up for the January 13th Exodus 90 program that runs until Easter! Click here.
January 8, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The modern world seeks to ensnare souls in sin and drag them to hell. Lurid movies, immodest clothing, and our culture’s celebration of drunkenness and sexual conquests entice persons, especially men, to indulge in what is opposed to the laws of Jesus Christ.
It’s sometimes difficult to come across solid Catholic resources geared towards helping men overcome these things. This lack of instruction has arguably been one of the primary factors contributing to the loss of true masculinity in today's church. Fortunately, Catholics have not been abandoned entirely.
Exodus 90 is a three-month-long spiritual program that serves as a unique gift in these times. It’s aim is to provide Catholic men with the tools to rediscover their faith and embrace true freedom by ditching the trappings and distractions of the world so they can grow in humility and love of God.
Originally part of a seminary program by Fr. Brian Doerr at Mount St. Mary’s Theological Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, Exodus 90 has since exploded into a full-blown non-profit ministry that has helped more than 20,000 men over the last five years. James Baxter is the young man who helped co-found and now serves as the Executive Director of Exodus 90.
“If these seminarians were in need of this life-giving and liberating spiritual exercise, what about laymen everywhere who do not have the luxury of a formation house?” he asked.
In a recent interview, Baxter, a former seminarian, said that Exodus 90’s mission is to provide a path to freedom through prayer, asceticism, and fraternity.
“Every man comes to Exodus for different reasons. But the common thread is a desire for greater freedom. Most men are deeply motivated to become better husbands for their wives and fathers for their children or priests for the Church.”
Baxter believes that a man “should sign up to embrace his calling to become the spiritual leader in his home that God has called him to be.”
Exodus 90 asks men to engage in new spiritual practices. It also requires them to give up certain comforts. Taking cold showers, not drinking alcohol, fasting, limited technology use, exercising regularly, and committing to a daily holy hour are just a few of its requirements.
Baxter told LifeSite co-founder John-Henry Westen that it’s not always easy to accomplish this and that there are definite ebbs and flows of spiritual warfare over the 90 days. But local, face-to-face meet ups with other Exodus 90 participants help hold everyone accountable.
Men who sign up for Exodus 90 typically do so with 5-7 other men from their diocese or parish. Most men are “very isolated, very alone,” Baxter believes. “Fraternity doesn’t exist in the contemporary church.” The meet ups, when possible, are essential and help build relationships. Dependencies are halved in the 90 days, Baxter says.
What's unique about Exodus 90 is that it’s highly popular among ecclesial groups and younger Catholics, even priests. Over 50% of those who sign up for it are under the age of 34. 25% of the men are from outside the United States.
Exodus membership is $10 each month, which includes unlimited access to Exodus 90 and over 3 years of "Day 91" spiritual exercises, which walk men through all 14 narrative books of the Bible to help them to preserve their freedom and build upon their formation.
This year, the Lenten Exodus 90 program begins on January 13 and ends on Easter. Visit Exodus90.com for more information, or download the mobile app in the App Store or Google Play Store. "Like" Exodus 90 on Facebook and "follow" them on Twitter.