The Ascetic Disciplines

Exodus 90 contains a specific list of ascetic disciplines. As you review the list, you may notice that the disciplines touch most aspects of daily life. Some will be very easy for you, and others will be more challenging. If some of the disciplines seem unnecessary because you don’t struggle with them, commit to doing them anyway. If some seem too hard for you to handle, commit to those too. In both situations, the Lord has gifts he wants to give you. Your commitment to following him by way of these disciplines will dispose you to receive those gifts.

List of Ascetic Disciplines

  • Take short, cold showers.

  • Practice regular, intense exercise (at least three days a week).

  • Get a full night’s sleep (at least seven hours is recommended).

  • Abstain from alcohol.

  • Abstain from desserts and sweets.

  • Abstain from eating between meals.

  • Abstain from soda or sweet drinks (white milk, black coffee, and unsweetened tea are permissible).

  • Abstain from television, movies, or televised sports.

  • Abstain from video games.

  • Abstain from non-essential material purchases.

  • Only listen to music that lifts the soul to God.

  • Only use the computer for work, school, or essential tasks (e.g., paying bills).

  • Only use mobile devices for essential communications; cut out non-essential texting, app, and internet use.

  • Take Wednesdays and Fridays as days of fasting. (Abstain from meat and only eat one full meal, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal.)

Nearly all Exodus Men have admitted, after reading this list, to thinking about how they will modify it. They want to take control. But if being “in control” has not led you to freedom before, what makes you think it will help you now? Remember, the Exodus Men who have gone before you are praying for you. Look back at your "why." Let go of your need to be in control. Follow the Lord. He will provide you with sufficient grace to make your Exodus out of Egypt and into freedom.

Of course, there is always a need for prudence. If there is something in your life that makes taking up one of the disciplines reckless or imprudent, don’t take it up. Let your fraternity know of any disciplines you aren’t able to practice so that you can live these ninety days in the light, and your brothers can best hold you accountable.

Christ puts it simply for us: “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it” (Luke 9:23–24). The practice of asceticism is challenging. It is a sacrifice. It is the cross. Take up your cross and offer your whole life as a worthy sacrifice to the Lord, holding nothing back.

Sundays and Solemnities 

Sunday, celebrate the Lord’s Day. Every Sunday your fraternity is permitted to relax one discipline together to remind you of the glory of God and of heaven. All Solemnities are celebrated with the same principle. (It is strongly recommended that you do not relax technology-related disciplines.) Choose the discipline you relax as a fraternity so as to preserve fraternal unity and accountability. 

For more on Sundays and Solemnities, follow the link below:

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