I Survived the Exodus 90 Challenge

(Image source: https://exodus90.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/logo-exodus-orange.png)
 With the conclusion of the Easter Vigil just gone, I completed a program by the name of Exodus 90 (www.exodus90.com).
Exodus 90 is a program for men focused on prayer, asceticism and fraternity. During the program, people read through the book of Exodus and commit to a number of other disciplines, with a view to putting sin to death so that they can better live their freedom in Christ.
Here is the list of actions people undertake whilst completing the program:
·     Prayer
o   Read the daily reflections
o   Holy Hour (minimum 20 minutes of silent / contemplative prayer)
o   Pray for your fraternity
o   Prayer for all men in Exodus
o   Make a nightly Examen
o   Daily Rosary (encouraged)
o   Make a good confession monthly
·     Asceticism
o   Take short, cold showers
o   Practice regular, intense exercise
o   Get a full night’s sleep (seven hours recommended)
o   Abstain from alcohol
o   Abstain from desserts and sweets
o   Abstain from eating between meals
o   Abstain from sodas and sweet drinks
o   Abstain from television, movies, or televised sports
o   Abstain from video games
o   Abstain from non-essential material purchases
o   Only listen to music that lifts the soul to God
o   Only use the computer for work, school, or essential tasks
o   Only use mobile devices for essential communications; nonessential texting, app, and Internet use is prohibited.
o   On all Wednesdays and Fridays, abstain from meat and only eat one full meal, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to the full meal.
o   Celebrate the Lord’s Day each Sunday, by relaxing one discipline to remind you of the glory of God and of heaven (suggestion: allow one dessert).
·     Fraternity
o   Check-in daily with your accountability partner
o   Attend weekly fraternity meeting
o   Recommended: weekly fraternity hoy hour
o   Recommended: Weekly fraternity Mass (on a day other than Sunday)
o   Pray for your fraternity
o   Go on a fraternity outing (at least once, but ideally monthly)
This is obviously on top of the requirements of the five precepts of the church.
What I accomplished

Here is a list of some of my achievements from undertaking the program:
·     Lost 5.4 kilos, for a total of 9.4 kilos of weight lost since about the same time last year (~21 pounds total).
·     89 days praying the rosary and one day praying just a decade
·     A complete read through the book of Exodus with some application-based commentary.
·     Read nine other books as a result of this program:
o   Dorotheos of Gaza – Sayings and collected writings
o   The Spiritual Combat by Dom Lorenzo Scupoli
o   The Power of Silence by Robert Cardinal Sarah
o   Wild at Heart by John Beveridge
o   The Spirit of the Liturgy by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)
o   Meditations before Mass by Roman Guardini
o   The Angels and their Mission by Jean Danielou
o   Searching for and Maintaining peace by Fr. Jacques Philippe
o   Letters from Lake Como by Romano Guardini
·     Listened to a 30-part series on the historical reliability of the Gospels by Dr Craig Blomberg
·     Attended holy hour at the Cathedral in Melbourne about a dozen times
·     Completed a day hike with the fraternity
·     Hobbled my way through a 65 kilometer hike in Wilson’s Prom
·     Went to a Thursday night football match
·     Spent quiet time with the Lord
·     Attended a wedding
·     Prayed my way through the Liturgy of the Hours for Lent
·     Learned how to structure a holy how
·     Learned how to do a nightly Examen (examination of conscience)
·     Shared my testimony
·     Learned about the Divine Mercy Novena and commenced praying it in the lead up to Divine Mercy Sunday
·     Developed a greater appreciation for Christian music and Light FM
·     Had my longest records without certain bad habits, such as eating chocolate, snacking, drinking, etc.
·     Most importantly, learned how to discern God speaking to me and how to seek His will and to discern whether I am being obedient or not on actions he requires of me.
There were lots of moments of falling short too, so it wasn’t all successes. Nevertheless, it was a great experience and I’m grateful to have been prompted by two people on separate occasions to undertake this program.
I’ve purchased three copies of the book for this course, one to keep and two to share with others, and have already had one person express interest in doing it in the future.  I’d encourage all Christian men (Catholic and non-Catholic) to consider completing this course.

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