At a local park in Manila, I saw a piece of the Berlin wall; a gift from the German government. One side is covered with colorful graffiti, the other still the original bland grey: metaphors to the two ideologies that it separated.
It put me in mind of a story from the cold war days of a daring escape from East Germany to the West. A family worked for months gathering materials and making a hot air balloon out of cloth, filled with hot air using cooking gas cylinders mounted on a cage which would carry them from a field (a few miles east of Berlin) in the dead of night to freedom. On the 2nd attempt they were successful; evading capture by the Stasi or secret Police by only a few minutes.
What also struck me though, was whilst most people behind the iron curtain were unhappy with their captivity and longed for freedom, only a small proportion tried to escape, they accepted captivity rather than risking all for freedom.
Childhood sacramental programs end with Confirmation and then there is often little direction towards Spiritual growth in our church. No wonder so many men are taken captive by sin, addictions or boredom.
Most ancient cultures brought their men to maturity through training of the body, mind and Spirit through a process of initiation and fellowship. Like the Spartan ‘agoge’ prepared young men to become warriors, we need to fill this gap or the souls of our men will become flabby, weak , desensitized and deadened.
Earlier this year I embarked on a journey, a 90 day spiritual exercise, developed by the church in America, called Exodus 90. It includes prayer, scripture, moderate ascetic practices, and ideally fellowship with a group of like-minded men within the parish.
These components are not Pharasitical rules and obligations for their own sake but rather tools God uses to deliver, strengthen and equip us for a new life with Him. A new life in the Freedom of the Spirit is both available and wonderful; but you will have to fight for it.
See :- https://exodus90.com/ for details.