A Year of Blessings: Exodus 90
Forty students, both Catholic and Protestant, entered more deeply into the penitential season of Lent by participating in the Exodus 90 program. Exodus 90 was created five years ago by a priest and a group of seminarians at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary. The program is a 90-day period of prayer, fasting, and penance, supported by a community of like-minded friends.
Exodus 90 began on Ash Wednesday and came to an end on Pentecost. The program is demanding: students prayed for at least 20 minutes a day, took cold or cool showers, fasted twice a week, refrained from frivolous internet use, and committed to regular and intense exercise as well as sleeping seven hours a night.
“Making room for Christ in our hearts required clearing other things out,” Fr. Nick said.
An important aspect to Exodus 90 is that no one does it alone. Participants were divided into six groups which met weekly. Additionally, they were assigned accountability partners with whom they were to check in daily. For many, having this community to grow with made all the difference. One student said, “Sometimes it was hard to fit into my schedule and I was annoyed I had to come. But I was thankful after each group meeting for that time to reflect and hear how others were doing.”
“If you choose to do this program,” Fr. Nick said at the beginning of Lent, “then give it your all, knowing that Jesus will not be outdone in generosity.”
Throughout the semester, the fruits of this commitment became increasingly evident to the students. “I have never understood more deeply than now the necessity and benefits of prayer,” one said. “More so, I have a desire to develop the true faith aspect of my relationship instead of only the academic one.”
Another said, “I was rather resentful at first and really wanted to give up on it, but after the first month I really reveled in it and began to love the changes that it brought into my life.”
The program aims to replace bad habits with holy ones. One student shared about her transformative experience, “ I have become more calm and patient. I struggle with anxiety, but Exodus 90 helped me find tools to change my thought patterns. When my body was tempted to become stressed, I started to learn to breathe, quiet my heart, and focus on God for joy.”
Ultimately, though, the goal of the Exodus 90 is union with God. “At the end of the program,” one student related, “I felt like I had fallen in love with Jesus.” Deo gratias.