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What are the Disciplines of Saint Michael’s Lent?
What are the Disciplines of Saint Michael’s Lent?

Our Guide to the Disciplines of Saint Michael’s Lent

Jacob Zepp avatar
Written by Jacob Zepp
Updated over a week ago

Read Revelation Scripture & Reflections

St. Michael’s Lent provides a tour of God's heavenly court and an overview of his plan of salvation. Reading our daily Scripture excerpts and reflections will immerse us in the deepest realities of heaven and earth.

30 Minutes of Silent Prayer Each Day

Set aside a minimum of 30 minutes for silent, contemplative prayer before the Lord. Prayer is the heart of the Exodus experience and the number one way to receive greater freedom.

For further instruction on prayer, see "What should Prayer look like in Saint Michael's Lent"

Make Two Holy Hours Each Week

Time with the Lord is of great importance for us men who are called to lead others. We must hear the commands of God so to know which way to go. Pick the times to make your holy hours and put them on your schedule. Tell your anchor what times your holy hours will be and declare these two hours each week non-negotiable. God will provide abundant graces through your commitment and openness to him.

For further instruction on prayer, see "What should Prayer look like in Saint Michael's Lent"

Make a Morning Offering

No matter when you take your 30 minutes of prayer, right away in the morning or later in the day, we should begin each day immediately with a morning offering. This begins the day on the right foot and entrusts the entire day to God. We have a few examples of morning offering prayers in this Field Guide.

Practice a Daily Examen

Just as you began the day with a morning offering, you should end with an examen, reflecting on the day, what went well, and where did you fall. For instructions on how to make an examen, see the overview in this Field Guide.

Avoid Unnecessary Smartphone Use

During this exercise, avoid using your mobile device unless it is truly necessary. Your phone creates unnecessary noise that makes it hard to look into the spiritual realities we are exploring. You may need to turn off your notifications to be present to those around you. Whenever possible, connect with people in person instead of using a mobile device.

Refrain from Internet Browsing & Video Games

Internet browsing creates a “noise” of its own: it fills our minds and eyes with distractions, taking us from one thing to the next, scrolling down the screen as we superficially browse over the websites, ads, and various posts constantly presenting themselves before us. Before we know it, hours may have gone by. Just as we need literal quiet, we also need space and time to allow us to think and pray deeply. Internet browsing keeps us busy and superficial. So, during this exercise, use the internet only for necessary tasks: check your email, pay bills, and make purchases. But avoid browsing through the internet by clicking on links, looking up questions, and wasting your time away. Check-in with your anchor to help hold you accountable.

Many video games today are crafted to get you to play as much and as often as possible. That is to say, they are purposely designed with addictive features to keep you hooked. This is the opposite of freedom. During this exercise, give up all forms of video games: computer, console, mobile, arcade, casino, and all other forms of video gaming.

Check-In with Your Anchor

We cannot battle alone. St. Michael is a key wingman—slaying dragons in our path—but we also need a wingman alongside us with feet firmly planted on Earth. Be there for your anchor and rely on him to back you up in this battle. Check-in with him, at least briefly, every day. Be open and honest so that you can really help one another.

If you do not have a fraternity yet, see "Can You Connect Me to Other Men?"

Weekly Fraternity Meeting

Along with prayer, regular fraternity makes the Exodus experience work. Investing in a weekly fraternity meeting will greatly enhance St. Michael’s Lent and can continue to build up a strong community of men into the future. Great things come out of committed fraternities. Invest in this time and you will see the fruits.

For more on the importance of fraternities, see "Fraternity: An Overview"

If you do not have a fraternity yet, see "Can You Connect Me to Other Men?"

No Meat Wednesday & Friday

Sin comes from a disordered attachment to material things. To counter this, we will commit to pulling back from the things of Earth to focus more on those of Heaven. You and your brothers will enter more deeply into the Church’s tradition of fasting and abstinence by extending your abstinence from meat to two days a week: on Friday (the day Christ gave up his own flesh for us) and on Wednesday (the day that Judas agreed to betray our Lord). From the time you rise until you go to bed, don’t eat any meat on Wednesday or Friday.

Observe Wednesday & Friday as a Day of Penance

Taking these two days as special times for fasting is a tradition that dates back to the Early Church (see Didache, 8). This tradition has continued to be practiced by many today. Each week it structures our days by reflecting Christ’s glorious Passion. On Friday, we remember the gift of the Cross so that we are more prepared to receive the gift of the resurrection each Sunday. And on Wednesday we unite ourselves to Christ, recalling Judas’s betrayal.

There are many ways you could choose to observe these two days through penance and sacrifice. When you are discerning how to practice this discipline during Saint Michael’s Lent, you should do three things:

  1. Ask God to help you hear and understand how he wants you to use these days as days of penance.

  2. Talk to your fraternity about how you will live this discipline out.

  3. Talk to your wife about how you will implement this at home.

Consider picking at least pick one or two things to do as a fraternity. Add your group disciple to your disciple list on the app. If the whole fraternity commits to one thing, certain men are welcome to add their own personal resolutions to this discipline.

As a group—or as a personal discipline—you could fast either until noon or until 4 PM. For those who are in good health, this means that you will not eat or drink anything except water. No snacking, eating meals, shakes, bars, or energy drinks. Please drink an appropriate amount of water. You could also take a cold shower on these days or take them as opportunities to abstain from alcohol.

Whatever you pick, start your decision with prayer and discuss it with your brothers and your wife (if you are married).

When you are observing these days as days of penance, it is important to make your observance a prayer. Make your sacrifice in remission for your sins and the sins of the whole world. If you are fasting, think about your sins every time you get hungry. If you are taking a cold shower, think about someone who needs your prayers right before you jump into the ice-cold water. If you abstain from alcohol, offer your empty glass up for the many times that you have been overtaken by self-love and ignored God’s perfect will.

Do not be gloomy when you observe these days of penance. Jesus warns us, “When you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you that they have received their reward” (Matthew 6:16). Rather, be joyful and know that in abstaining from food you are feeding your soul. St. Basil the Great says, “It is absurd not to rejoice in the soul’s health, and rather to sorrow over the change in food and to appear to favor the pleasure of the stomach over the care of the soul (On Fasting and Feasting, 55).

Celebrate the Lord's Day

Even in penitential seasons, we will treat every Sunday as a mini Easter. You will be invited to relax one discipline every Sunday. Take this opportunity to be present to your family. Consider having a feast. Invite your friends and family over to celebrate Christ's resurrection and victory over death.

Have more questions about these disciplines?

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