Frustrated. Irritable. Angry. This pretty much describes how I’ve been feeling about the state of the Catholic Church the last few months. I’ve also seen the same thing from many friends and family members. We’re faithful, strong, Catholics confused and not sure what the heck is going on.
And, at least for me, this frustration has spilled over into other areas of my life. I have found myself far less patient and kind… personally and professionally.
Then, last week, Mike and I were chatting on the phone and I decided to spill the beans about these frustrations (Mike may use another term to describe the conversation… LOL!) as it relates to our Exodus group. You might call our Exodus group one of the “Exodus 90 OGs.” We were one of the first groups of laymen to go through the 90 day program 3 years ago.
As we’ve chronicled on this blog many times Exodus 90 was the single most transformative time of our spiritual lives. It changed us for the better. It also launched a life long brotherhood as we’ve continued to stick together as a group ever since.
But, like anything in life, our group hasn’t always excelled. In fact, the past few months have been down right pathetic. We hadn’t consistently met as a group for a variety of reasons. Kids in sports. Vacations. Etc.
Another point of frustration for me arrived in my inbox a few weeks ago from one my brothers in Christ, Chris Werner. Chris and his Exodus brothers decided to form a version of Exodus 90 for the Advent season called “Cut to the Core.” Now, you may wonder, why in the world would this frustrate me? I’ll explain.
Ever since our group finished our original Exodus 90 we have revisited the Exodus disciplines during Lent and Advent. And, some of us, never stop practicing certain disciplines. Put another way… while cold showers always suck… our group can make it through them. It’s not a big deal. Same thing with the other disciplines. Done it several times, got the T shirt.
So, being 100% transparent, the thing that was irritating me – as it relates to our Exodus group – is that I didn’t want us to think that cold showers and few other disciplines during Advent were going to fix our problems.
Now, back to that phone call with Mike. After I was done throwing up into the phone Mike calmly replied that he agreed… Cut to the Core isn’t a magic elixir for our group. He also agreed that we know how to do the disciplines and can easily make it through the 24 days of Advent!
But then Mike explained that his personal reasoning for doing it wasn’t for himself or our group. It was for the Catholic Church.
I then realized how big of an idiot I was being. I had let my frustrations, irritability, and anger about the state of the church cloud my better judgement. I also realized… it’s not about me at all. It’s about the church.
A weird thing happened once I had this realization. I felt all the worry and anxiety lift from my shoulders. I now realize Satan had placed this weight on my shoulders in attempt to hold me down. And, I’m sad to say, it was working.
But not anymore. During that phone call with Mike I committed to Cut to the Core. And while I will no doubt benefit from the self discipline required to do everything… I am not focused on me. I am focused on doing what I can for our Lord’s Holy Catholic Church. Every Rosary, every Holy Hour, every workout has one intention – the Catholic Church.
Now, I have no idea what your situation is. Perhaps you’ve done Exodus 90 in the past. Perhaps you’ve never heard of Exodus 90 and have no idea what I’m talking about. No matter where you are… I now personally invite you to join me and, at the time of publishing this article, 39 other men in the Cut to the Core program. And don’t worry if you’re just now reading this a few days, or even a few weeks, into Advent. You can still join.
The program is quite simple. We commit to doing certain things like a daily Rosary, attending Holy Hour whenever possible (at least once per week), and reading a chapter from the My Daily Bread book. There are also a few physical disciplines such as working out a few times a week which may mean going for a walk if you’re new to working out. There are a few other things including, yes, cold showers… but, trust me brothers… it’s totally doable. My kids have even done them!
So, if you’re ready to join the battle… all you have to do is contact us and we’ll get you all the info needed. We’re all tracking what we do on a master Google spreadsheet so we can quantify what we’ve offered the church.
So far, as of the morning of Dec 3, we’ve done 13 Holy Hours, 60 Rosaries, 65 My Daily Bread chapters, 38 workouts, and 42 cold showers. Not bad considering we’re only a few days into Advent!
But, to be sure, we need more men in the battle… so please join us!