Ante & Roberta Skoko
Exodus 90: Prayer. Asceticism. Brotherhood.
Updated: Jan 7, 2019
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” Mark 8:34. This Bible passage where Christ with His Apostles said to the crowd has been named: the Conditions of Discipleship. Exodus 90 is a challenging 90-day period of prayer and asceticism, supported by a fraternity of 5-7 like-minded men.
Start Date: January 21, 2019 to end on Easter Sunday (April 21, 2019). Christ lays it out there - exactly what we must do to follow Him. We are called to take up our cross, but first, we must deny ourselves. Another way to put it - it starts with Asceticism.
In life, we say ‘no’ to lesser things, so that we can say ‘yes’ to higher things. The athlete says ‘no’ to junk food so he can perform at his best. The student says ‘no’ to Netflix so he can hit the books. The husband says ‘no’ to late nights at the bar to say ‘yes’ to marriage and fatherhood.
Our ‘yes’ to following Christ, begins with saying ‘no’ to the world and its comforts. During this Exodus, that means saying no to Alcohol, Sweets, Snacks, TV, Warm Showers, and more. If this sounds difficult, it is. But, this is the path to freedom, to self-mastery, to sanctity, and to Christ.
Exodus 90 is not a breeze. It is a battle. And, like life on earth, sometimes that battle will be physical and sometimes it will be spiritual.
Spiritual warfare is a reality of life. The battle between Good and Evil has our souls hanging in the balance. The devil wants you to believe that this battle doesn’t exist. That those bullets are butterflies and Satan’s just a red cartoon character to scare kids into behaving. It’s a lie.
By embarking on Exodus 90, you’re engaging in the battle. And, there’s one fatal mistake that you can make from the start: going alone.
As men, we need other men. We need brothers-in-arms, united in purpose, to support and encourage, but also to hold us accountable. That’s why Exodus 90 is not a silent retreat or self-help program. It’s a 90 day journey that’s made with 5-7 other men. It is as a group that we will fight our way to freedom.
The 4 Pillars from Exodus 90:
The 90-day benchmark is not an arbitrary number; it is essential for freedom. That’s the period it takes to re-learn the joy and satisfaction of self-mastery and freedom. Most men consider the 90-day period of purification a manly challenge, something that may have been missing in their lives for a long time.
In addition, researchers have found that it takes about 90 days – the length of many rehabilitation models, including AA – for the brain to “reset” itself. Interestingly enough, people in recovery have known this saying forever “90 meetings in 90 days” because when the brain is engaged in a habit for 90 days it becomes easier to do. After Exodus 90, what was once difficult and a challenge, becomes a new way of life.
During Exodus 90, you slowly read through the book of Exodus and commit to 20-60 minutes of silent prayer each day. You take on the story of the Israelites and are guided by daily meditations that open up the Sacred Scriptures in new and enlightening ways. But this isn’t just a bible study, Exodus 90 is much more.
We cannot say “yes” to God until we have said “no” to the world and its comforts. During Exodus 90, you will return to the Church’s ancient (and largely lost) tradition of asceticism. Here’s the regimen:
- cold showers
- no alcohol
- no desserts & sweets
- no eating between meals
- no soda or sweetened drinks
- no television or movies or televised sports (without permission from the fraternity)
- only listen to music that lifts the soul to God
- only use computer for work, school, essential tasks
- only use mobile device for essential communications (delete unnecessary apps)
- regular and intense daily exercise
- no major material purchases (without permission from the fraternity)
- at least seven hours of sleep each night
Exodus 90 is not a self-help program. You’ll invite 5-7 men to journey with you, and where possible, your priest will serve as your spiritual director. These meetings are an opportunity for men to give a self-report for accountability, to receive encouragement from the brotherhood, and wisdom from the spiritual director. There’s no better way to re-awaken your diocese, parish, or men’s group in these dark times that call for prayer, penance, and renewed trust.
“Exodus 90 is rediscovering and reintroducing the faithful to the Church’s beautiful tradition of penance. Not in a negative way that punishes ourselves but in a positive way that invites us to experience the fruits of prayer, fasting, and brotherhood. Indeed, the priests and laymen I know who have undertaken this ascetical adventure have been surprised by the way it has transformed their lives. I recommend it for any man who wants to deepen his relationship with God, grow in self-mastery, or learn to love more like Christ.”
- Bishop Andrew Cozzens, Auxiliary Bishop of St. Paul & Minneapolis
If you feel called to join me on this journey, please click here to sign up, and send me a message afterwards to join our brotherhood. (As of January 7, we have two 7-man fraternities!)