COLD SHOWERS, HOLY HOURS,
N' GAME NIGHTS

   SAMPLE OF DISCIPLINES:

  • Take short, cold showers

  • Practice regular, intense exercise

  • Abstain from tv and movies

  • Abstain from non-essential purchases

  • Abstain from non-essential internet use

  • Abstain from alcohol

  • Get 7 hours of sleep

  • Pray a daily holy hour

  • Meet weekly with your fraternity

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For a strong group of St. Thomas More gentlemen, their Lenten journeys began early on January 17. Father Jeff is leading a group of 14 students and 4 permanent community members through the Exodus 90 Spiritual Exercises. Inspired by God's call in the Book of Exodus to worship him alone and lay aside attachments and idols, the men focus on prayer, fraternity, and asceticism for 90 days to find freedom in Christ. St. Tom’s campus minister Justin Leiner shared, “Exodus 90 is an initiative to help men grow in self-discipline for the Lord, to be able to deny themselves and sacrifice so that they can be better prepared to love and serve others.” Among the observed practices are an hour of daily prayer, no use of electronics outside of work or school, cold showers, and 7 hours of nightly sleep—just to name a few.

 

Despite the rigor of the program, the fraternity of men hold each other accountable through daily and weekly support. Student participant Jimmy McDermott shared, “We meet once a week as a fraternity and discuss the highs and lows of the week, making sure to focus on the big ways we've failed, but more importantly, the big ways that we have found freedom through the disciplines. This is a constant reminder that none of us are in this alone and that we are able to lean on each other when things get really tough.” Although they are only halfway through their journey, the rewards are already being reaped. Jimmy continued, “The most rewarding part has been the reality check that, before Exodus, I was settling with making Jesus a priority in my life, along with my other priorities. Now, after cutting out many world comforts, I am able to work, slowly, at making him THE priority in my life. I have the freedom to seek after the deeper desires in my heart, which is life with Christ, but I was unable to see those desires because they were hidden by the heavy wall of YouTube and TV and a never-ending search for comfort.”

The effects of Exodus can be felt throughout the St. Tom’s community. “One natural effect of giving up screens is that the communal life at St. Toms is thriving. When you can't play video games, board games are a nice substitute,” said Jimmy. Fireside Student Lounge can be found bursting with joy nightly with enthusiastic game nights led by the Exodus brotherhood. Justin sees this growth in community felt throughout the students, “It feels like there is just more life in our Newman Center, with students calling each other into fun community and into further prayer, in a way I haven’t seen them before.” Exodus 90 will conclude Easter Sunday.