For many, the 40-days of Lent are not necessarily something to look forward to. Somehow you don’t want to do without the things that make you happy – like a hot chocolate when it’s cold, or a cold beer with friends when we slowly climb back up into the double-digit temperatures again. Fasting resolutions can look very different, but they have one thing in common: they are never easy to implement and make 40 days seem incredibly long. But how about a 90-day Lent? And why do you do something like that voluntarily?

Especially at the beginning of Lent we like to make resolutions. You may want to pray more or do without certain superficialities and dependencies in order to concentrate on the essentials again. Sometimes we start quite motivated, but quickly realize that we don’t always implement these resolutions perfectly. We want to tell you at this point: That’s okay – fasting doesn’t always have to be perfect, because fasting is about so much more – and you can always start again.

Exodus90 und Magnify90

Every year there are people in our community who do the Exodus90 or Magnify90 programs. It is about growing and challenging yourself in body, mind and soul in a kind of “extended fasting period”. The participants of these programs have a whole Lent behind them when we are just getting started. We sat down with Karin and Sascha to give a little insight into why someone voluntarily foregoes some things for 90 days, what the benefits are and, above all, why fasting doesn’t have to be perfect.

The Basics: What does this 90-day Lent look like?

Sascha: Exodus builds on the three pillars of brotherhood, prayer and asceticism. It’s called Exodus 90 because you’re reading from the book of Exodus during those 90 days. Exodus tells the story of the people of Israel – you see how they freak out, get freed from Egypt and then get to Israel. It’s the same with us men – we too are enslaved by many things and can be led to freedom by this program… and these „enslavements“ can look very different. From alcohol and drugs, i.e. worse things, to shopping, spending too much time on the internet or something like that. From enslavement to freedom – that is the basic idea of Exodus.

Karin: Magnify90 has the basic idea of getting involved in a deeper relationship with Christ in body, mind and soul – towards Easter. (Magnify90 specifically builds on contemplating and growing in one virtue weekly through Easter.) For me, a classic day since starting Magnify is after my morning prayers with my husband, trying to read the readings from the accompanying book and then digging deeper into them throughout the day.

Why are you doing this program?

Sascha: I’m doing it for the third time, and this time it was a conscious decision: I want to be freer again. For example, I’d like to set up my own company right now, and I know that Exodus will give me more time for that too – that I’ll be less in front of my laptop and less in front of my cell phone. The other reason is of course: This way I can certainly be even more free for my wife and my future family. I want to be a good role model for my children in the future and not spend all day on my cell phone or laptop – I want to start practicing this virtue now… because by the time they are there, it’s too late.

Karin: Actually, one of my goals is to start fasting, as is desired from Medjugorje. I really want to keep improving. I also wished for support from the community, and I found it. Also, I really wanted to deepen my relationship with Christ and also get help for my marriage.

Fasting doesn’t have to be perfect: What have you struggled with the most so far and how do you deal with it when something doesn’t go so well?

Sascha: Since this is already my third exodus, I notice that it is no longer so difficult for me to think about the ascetic points. The most difficult part is still the mobile phone. I find I have a tendency to be compulsively productive and have often pulled out my phone to check email or to see if anyone has texted me for something I could do. And taking a cold shower – that’s difficult, of course. It really helps me a lot to see the Exodus group as a brotherhood. As men who want to work on themselves and try to be good men. It’s all very motivating – you exchange ideas and also see the committment of the others. That’s how I deal with it when something doesn’t work out that way – I ask my exodus partner’s forgiveness, because you actually do it together and not just for yourself. I do think that’s my responsibility to him. And then it’s just a matter of getting up and carrying on.

Karin: When it comes to fasting, I’ve struggled the most at family reunions or birthday parties. I was often at the point where I then asked what is more important now – the hospitality I receive or can offer, or fasting? When I then made a decision in favor of hospitality in some situations, it was often a learning experience to see that it is also important to set limits here – for my body and my soul. It’s okay to take part, but I was able to learn to weigh up how much is okay and so that it’s good for me. If something didn’t work out, it helped me to talk about it with my group in these situations and to see that others feel the same way and that I’m not alone. That always helps to move on and forgive yourself.

It’s all about Him! How has your relationship with God changed in the last 90 days?

Sascha and Karin can also testify that fasting is not just about an imposed challenge, but primarily about putting your focus back on what is important. It’s not about being perfect or being angry at yourself when something doesn’t work out, but about striving for greater things with God and for God and letting yourself be transformed.

Sascha: During this time I just realized again that I’m attached to a lot of things that I don’t really need. I just use my time more wisely and can be more productive – I can now do things that I can’t otherwise do during the year. In addition, I can work on making prayer, for example, a part of my everyday life in the long term – just like mass and worship.

Karin: Through Magnify, I try to get into Mass and worship as best I can. Unfortunately, this is sometimes not so easy for me due to the circumstances of my life. During this time, however, I was able to learn to accept this, even if I suffer from it, and instead to give God more space in my life in a different way. I just allow quiet time if I can’t make it… I’m just more open to praying at home too. I definitely want to get away from my cell phone even more over the course of Lent, and also grow in my relationship with my husband. More humble, freer – contemplating all these virtues helped me a lot. I was able to recognize that I can really get support in these areas.


Sascha and Karin gave us brief impressions of their 90-day journey. What we can definitely take away from us is one thing: Whether it’s 90 or 40 days – Lent can be much more than just a time of imposed complaints. It can be a time to learn to step back and look at what really matters and matters. It can be the time to rediscover where there is room for growth and where strength and purification are still needed. Above all, it can be a time when you can listen in a new way and let Him give you new gifts in the sacraments and come a step closer to Him with each passing day – just as you can at the moment. Also very imperfect.