Not just giving up things
No social media. No sweets or alcohol. No television.
These are a few of the things that men across the world are sacrificing for Exodus 90, part of a Catholic spiritual exercise that extends Lent by 50 days.
Assistant Priest at Corpus Christi South Tuggeranong Fr Joshua Scott says it is more than just giving up certain things for 90 days.
“I tend to refocus from the words ‘giving up’ because then you can tell yourself once the 90 days are over that you can take those habits back up again,” he said.
Exodus 90 reflects the ascetic practices originating with the desert fathers in Egypt who were answering a call from Christ.
Just as Moses led the Israelite slaves out of Egypt, Exodus 90 helps men on their journey of faith.
“Our personal Egypt can be that you are too attached to technology or the increased comforts of life, so it is trying to take that away from us so there is more time for prayer and brotherhood,” Fr Joshua said.
The spiritual exercise attracts a lot of young men and Christopher Gilroy from South Tuggeranong Parish says it helps them get closer to Christ and form a bond with their group.
“I think as young people something like Exodus 90 provides an opportunity to grow in closeness with Christ, especially when you feel like your faith is plateauing,” Christopher said.
When the 90 days are up, they are encouraged to continue to follow the new habits.
“It is not the finish line, it’s the starting line. Although you don’t have to continue all the acts of asceticism, you keep that structure of accountability and guidance,” Fr Joshua said.
“It allows you to have space for new things and you end up reading lots, spending more time in prayer and seeing your friends more often.”