From time immemorial, we have seen how men have embraced asceticism as a pathway to God. Especially now in this digital world, made more pervasive paradoxically by the pandemic, there seems to be no place, even in one’s mind where one can have some free space and time for God.
Those great souls who turned their backs on the world and retreated to monasteries, like Thomas Merton, discovered the experience and wonder of God through contemplative prayer and meditation.
For those of us, modern day Christians, how can we find such a space, as are having to manage work and home life, a paradigm which is getting increasingly difficult to distinguish one from the other? Is there a way that one can discover this path to God through asceticism? If you are looking, here is one program that might be able to help you.
The Exodus90 program, designed for Catholic men for 90 days aims at spiritual transformation, through the pillars of prayer, asceticism and fraternity. You may have a look here – https://exodus90.com/how-it-works. The practices seem a bit rigorous at first look. But the end goal is worthy, as one would develop a closer relationship with the Lord at the end of this period.
The ninety days has been selected by the founders, as the neuroplasticity of the brain shows that this duration is ideal to help break old habits with new ones, as well as sustain the change.
“Asceticism is utterly useless if it turns us into freaks. The cornerstone of all asceticism is humility, and Christian humility is first of all a matter of supernatural common sense. It teaches us to take ourselves as we are, instead of pretending (as pride would have us imagine) that we are something better than we are,’ said Thomas Merton.
The path to asceticism is not easy and requires denial. It is a hard path and many attempt but fail on the way. Exodus90 has distilled the principles into a program that can be followed and sustained.
Embarking on the Exodus90 program would mean among other things committing to an hour of prayer daily, taking no alcohol, an hour of intense workout, no eating between meals, no desserts, use of computer/mobiles strictly for work alone, taking cold showers, sharing fraternity time – these are some of the things to commit to, in order to shape up your body and your soul.
The prayers/daily reflections are based on the book of Exodus, an apt choice from the treasure troves of the Bible.
Many have tried this and it has worked for them get a closer relationship to God. If you are married, please do share the details of the program with your partner ahead, so you can enlist her support as you embark on this 90 day transformation program.
Check it out: www.exodus90.com
By Tom Thomas Maliekel
Tom is an Indian entrepreneur with interests in technology, manufacturing, reading, scribbling, running, faith and family (not necessarily in that order) He was greatly inspired on his journey of fitness by the amazing transformation that the Snehagram Community – www.snehagram.org – has made in the lives of HIV infected youngsters, by shaping them up into some of the most outstanding amateur runners in India.