Reconquista Lent - Prayer, Asceticism, Fraternity
Justin Haggerty | The Daily Knight
Accountability program, from St. Michael's Catholic Church in Roswell, GA, that can be conducted in tandem or in addition to the Lenten Rules of the Sacred Military Order of Knights of the Republic and the Most Victorious Heart of Jesus.
What is manliness? God, while remaining sovereign over all things, all souls, and all societies, created man in his image and likeness, and called him to exercise mastery over the created world and over his daily domain. To carry this out, a man must first of all put in the work necessary to gain master over himself.
Reconquista (a reconquering of oneself) is a crusade for self-mastery and strength of character. Reconquista is a version of Exodus 90, adapted by SSPX Armada, and then tailored for young men for Lent.
There are three pillars for this program. They are not ends in themselves. Rather, they are importance tools to enable the participants to achieve the freedom of the sons of God:
- Daily Rosary.
- Daily spiritual reading(1) and mental prayer (15 min total), tenaciously adhered to.
- Daily examination of conscience: This will be done so much as a mere reckoning of sins, but as an exercise in compunction, self-knowledge, and renewal of fervor. It will consist firstly of a thankfulness for the good deeds done that way, and then a sorrow for the faults committed.
- Regular confession, weekly or at least every two weeks.
- Growth in knowledge of the Faith through study (2).
(1) Thomas a Kempis. The Imitation of Christ. Be faithful to the reading schedule.
(2) Graudon, Fr. Matthias. The Catechism of the Crisis in the Church. Kansas City: Angelus, 2010. Reconquista will use this work for study during lent, but continuing some time beyond lent.
2. Asceticism - Rigorous exercise, self-denial, and detachment from things of the world:
- Observe the traditional rules of fasting and abstinence during weekdays and Saturdays of Lent (3).
- Take short, cold (or tepid) showers.
- Practice regular, intense exercise, such as running or substantial manual labor.
- Get a full night's sleep (at least eight hours is recommended).
- Firmly set the times for getting up in the morning and for lights-out in the evening.
- Abstain from alcohol.
- Abstain from desserts and sweets.
- Abstain from soda or sweet drinks (white milk, black coffee, and black tea are permissible).
- Abstain from television and movies, or limit this to less than one hour per day.
- Abstain from video games.
- Abstain from non-essential material purchases.
- Only listen to music that lifts the soul to God, and observe recollection/silence when able.
- Only use the computer for work, school, or essential tasks.
- Only use mobile devices for essential communications; cut out non-essential or frivolous use.
(3) Traditional Lenten Fast: (can us St. Thomas Aquinas' rubric in the Lenten Rules of the Knights of the Republic)
(a) Fasting is for those aged 21-59 (but 18-59 for Ash Wednesday and Good Friday). It included all days of Lent apart from Sundays. One full meal may be taken per day, plus two meatless rations which are each less than half of a normal meal. Liquids may be taken at any time, but no eating between meals. The full meal may be taken at either midday or in the evening.
(b) Abstinence from meat is for those aged 7 and up. Meat includes red meat, poultry, pork, and related soups/gravies, but not fats, seafood, eggs, and dairy.
On days of complete abstinence, no meat may be eaten (Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and all Fridays of Lent).
On days of partial abstinence, meat may be eaten only at the main meal. This is already included in the fasting regulations for those aged 21-59. For those under 21 or over 59, observe partial abstinence on Ember Wednesday and Ember Saturday besides observing the regulations for complete abstinence as described above.
(c) If you must mitigate the fast or abstinence on some occasion for sufficient reason or out of charity, you may do so without sin, but let prudence be the rule and let a generous spirit of mortification prevail over all. However, it is a mortal sin to deliberately break the fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday if you are aged 18-59 and to deliberately eat meat on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent if you are aged 14 or above, so on these days the fast and abstinence cannot be mitigated.
(d) For those under 21: Maintain regular nutrition for growth (this is why the Church does not have you fast yet except for Ash Wednesday and Good Friday for those over 18). Observe the regulations of abstinence as described, but also give up something for Lent that you really like, such as a type of food. Make a small sacrifice at each meal (take more of something you don't like and less of something you do like, or decide no to put salt or dressings on your food, or if you are having to eat out, order something that is not your first choice, etc.) You may choose to fast on some or all of the nine days on which you are obliged to completely abstain from meat, and this would be commendable.
3. Fraternity - Brotherly support and accountability.
- Brief weekly check-in meetings after Mass.
- Check in with accountability partner each day (by text or a brief call).
- Accountability: make it visible by using the check sheet.
Spirit of the Group
In the spirit of faith, the members will be convinced of the seriousness of life, and will resist the inclination to ease and amusements. They will strive above all to live the virtue of charity, specifically in its aspects of selflessness and generosity. Therefore, they will gladly embrace the difficulties of daily life, and of the surpassingly beautiful crown of love called sacrifice. They will be distinguished by their constant joy and cheerfulness. In the realm of religion and piety, members will find in the liturgical life an inexhaustible source of formation and sanctity. As "Christs in miniature" they will do their utmost to live the prayer of Christ, especially in its greatest act, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This will inevitably lead to an intense devotion to the Blessed Sacrament resulting in an ardent Eucharistic life that imparts the secrets of love and suffering, and gives the strength to live the divine calling to sanctity of life.
My Lord and my God, in Thy Most Holy Presence and in that of Thy Mother, of all the saints of the heavenly court and in particular of my holy patron and my guardian angel, I,_____________________, wish solemnly to enlist in Thy service in Reconquista every day from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday. Wishing to remain faithful to the promises of my Baptism, I bed Thee to come to my assistance in my weakness, to ratify this consecration of my whole self, that it may be but one offering with Thy Redeeming Blood, and that it may rise up before the throne of the Divine Majesty as a symbol of allegiance and honor. In these days when the powers of hell wage war on all who bear Thy name and Thine enemies seem to triumph everywhere, deign to accept and bless my promise, so that with the help of Thy grace, I may boldly take up arms. Thus, with no fear but that of failing in my promise, with the strength of Thy blessing, let me fight Thy battles for Thy glory and the exultation of Our Holy Mother the Church, snatching my soul and those that Thou wilt confide to my care from the clutches of the prince of darkness. In this battle in which I enlist, all too conscious of how poor and helpless I am, I turn with confidence to our Sweet Mother, Queen of Armies, and I beg her to receive me in a special way as her soldier for time and for eternity.
In Christ Crucified and the Most Victorious Heart of Jesus.