Christ’s Roadmap to Freedom
Exodus 90 is a ninety day spiritual exercise for men based on Christ’s roadmap to freedom: prayer, asceticism, and fraternity. It aids in the liberation of men so that they can be free to love and serve their families and the Church as God calls them.
The following parts of the Exodus 90 Field Guide on Christ’s roadmap tangibly explain prayer, asceticism, and fraternity, as well as other need-to-know information. Reading these sections will not only prepare you for what is to come, they will also equip you with the truth you need to help you ward off the lies and doubts of the Evil One as you commence (and continue through) this exercise. Don’t venture into the wilderness unprepared. Read these sections before you start this spiritual exercise, and ensure your brothers do the same.
Fidelity to Prayer
As you venture into the wilderness, you will likely find yourself complaining. Like the Israelites, you will be tempted to turn back to Egypt and the vices you sought to leave behind (Exodus 32:1–6). Stand firm. As St. Peter warns us, “Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Yet, he also commands us to resist the devil, remaining “solid in [our] faith.” Remain solid in trust that God’s omnipotence and paternal love will lead you where you need to be, regardless of how hard things get.
A major temptation many Exodus Men face is to cut back on daily prayer or cut it out altogether. Men are often concerned about how much time they spend away from their families when they take on daily prayer. Yet, take a moment to self-reflect:
• How much time have you stolen from your family in the last ninety days by playing video games, staying later at work, or staring at your television screen?
• What are you actually saying when you consider time with God to be less important than time with your family?
Yes, time with one’s family is very important and valuable. Exodus 90 is meant to assist you in gaining freedom from slavery so that you stop stealing time from your family. Time spent with God, however, is not “stolen” time. Prayer is a way to acknowledge the one who gives you all the time you have. It is a matter of justice that we should give some of our time exclusively back to him.
Daily Holy Hour
What will daily prayer look like? During this spiritual exercise, you are called to commit yourself to a daily holy hour. If you can’t do an entire holy hour on a given day, do as much as you can. Preservation of the twenty minutes of silent contemplative prayer is the exercise minimum on days you cannot make a full holy hour. When you are making the full holy hour, at least twenty minutes of silent contemplative prayer in open conversational time with God should be a part of the hour.
Ideally, daily holy hours should be spent in Eucharistic adoration with our Eucharistic Lord exposed in a monstrance or reposed in a tabernacle. If neither option is available, then “go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:6).
For more on the structure of a daily holy hour, see the section of the Field Guide entitled, “How to Pray a Holy Hour."
Silent Contemplative Prayer
Silent contemplative prayer is an expression of prayer that’s different from vocal and mental prayer, as it goes further towards a union with Christ (see CCC 2708). “Contemplative prayer is hearing the Word of God” (CCC 2716). It is time spent in silence and in dialogue with our Lord. Contemplative prayer is “far from being passive.” Rather, it is “the loving commitment of a child. It participates in the ‘Yes’ of the Son become servant” (CCC 2716). Vocal prayer is “an initial form of contemplative prayer” (CCC 2704), but each of these—both contemplative and vocal prayer—serves a unique purpose.
Vocal prayer is too often practiced as merely a monologue; a petition to our Lord that awaits no response. Meditative prayer, “a form of prayerful reflection” (CCC 2708), can even become a substitute for contemplative prayer, as if conversing with God is only for the most holy and not for the normal “everyday” Christian man. As you start each holy hour with vocal prayer and flow through to meditative prayer, do not fail to give enough time for God to lead you into a silent dialogue with him. This time of silent prayer gives God the opportunity to speak, and it gives you the chance to listen. It provides a context for a healthy conversation befitting a father and son. It is within this silent prayer that “we let our masks fall and turn our hearts back to the Lord who loves us, so as to hand ourselves over to him as an offering to be purified and transformed” (CCC 2711).
Do you desire freedom? Do you desire to have your life transformed? Then be committed to your daily time of honest and unguarded silent prayer, during which you can love and be loved by the Lord. He alone can bring you to the freedom you were made for.
These disciplines will require that at least twenty minutes of each daily holy hour be reserved for contemplative prayer. If you are only able to do twenty minutes of prayer on a given day (as opposed to a full holy hour), then your twenty minutes of prayer should be dedicated specifically to uninterrupted, silent, contemplative prayer in an appropriate space.
Time in prayer will be critical. Do not let yourself be persuaded into thinking that you have no time. “One does not undertake contemplative prayer only when one has the time: one makes time for the Lord, with the firm determination not to give up, no matter what trials and dryness one may encounter” (CCC 2710). You can do it. God will provide the grace for you if you show up to prayer each day, willing to receive it.
For now, take a breath and ponder these challenging words from Christ: “Could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation” (Matthew 26:40–41).
Prayer in the Living Fraternity
Exodus Men form a living fraternity. You can count on the prayers of your brothers. They will be praying for you, and you should be praying daily for them, by name. Moreover, there are thousands of Exodus Men around the world praying for you and for all Exodus Men—those currently making an Exodus and those living the formation offered in Day 91. These are your brothers. They have endured the same grueling, purifying ninety days you are about to take up. They are continuing to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12) through their ongoing life of prayer, asceticism, and fraternity. So be encouraged. You and your fraternity are far from alone on this journey.