Congratulations, you have completed Week Three of this 40-Day Lenten Retreat! Again, let’s welcome those who just joined us this week.
We have all worked hard for the past 6 days, let us give ourselves a pat on our backs, rejoice and be glad as we celebrate the fruits God has granted us this week. As we prepare ourselves for this third Sunday of Lent, let us select the finest fruits to be offered back to Him for His greater glory, and to seek His help in areas we still need to work on.
By now, and by the grace of God, you should have noticed some changes in the condition of your heart as we approach the mid-point of this Lent. If you do not feel any difference, please do not be discouraged! Trust that if there is a desire in you, our good Lord takes delight in providing more than you can imagine!
What has brought us great joy this week is to know that some Farmers (of Hearts) in mainland China are using different means to forward the content of this online retreat to many other brothers and sisters who otherwise have no access to our daily reflection. Praise be to God! Let’s continue to support and pray for all the farmers who are journeying with us through whatever means.
For this coming week, this Lenten journey will take us deeper into our garden as we set our foot on the Rocky as well as the Thorny grounds, and then finally, the Rich Soil will emerge!
Bon Voyage!
Now, let us say a prayer before we begin the review of this week’s retreat:
Dear God, thank you again for granting me this spiritual faith journey! I offer you everything that I have experienced, together with the fruits you have granted me. Above all, I offer you my heart! Please bless my heart with your special graces and grant me wisdom so that I will grow every day in your likeness. Give me strength and courage to overcome any hurdles, and a renewed hope to embrace another week ahead! I ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen!
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen!

Week 3 in review

The following table highlights the process of our Week 3 Retreat ― our awareness and the required actions. Please take time to review and to further reflect on what you need to know and to work on. (Please note that you may also revisit Week 1 and Week 2 in Review below.)

RECAP - Week 1 in Review
Steps Awareness Actions
1 I need a Destination: If I do not know where I am going, what am I going to enter into my GPS?

Enter Destination into spiritual GPS:

  • Set short-term goals for these 40 days.
  • Pray to the Holy Spirit to show you your mission on earth.
Key Virtue – Humility: The sure hope of rebirth begins only with first dying to oneself.
A humble person fills oneself not with self interests but those of God, preparing room in one's heart to receive and store God's Word.
Take Mother Mary as your Role Model:
  • “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38
  • “And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” Luke 2:19
3 FOCUS/ATTENTION: What am I feeding my soul? “You are what you eat.” If you have a destination you want to achieve, you need to start feeding ourselves on things above (God's Word – nutrients), not things on earth.

PRIORITY RESET: What in my life are things above, and what are things on earth? Time for me to start shifting my FOCUS.

TREASURE HUNT: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)

RADICAL CHOICE: to enter into the inner circle (disciple of Christ) means to enter into the Heart of Jesus.
To gain the Kingdom, one must give everything.
Jesus has given us everything. However, in order for us to gain, it is our turn to give everything back to Him.
Think of Jesus as the Master and we are His apprentice. “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5)
Read Bible: The Rich Young Man (Mark 10:17-31)
To give up everything is a long process, but I need to start somewhere… and that somewhere is my heart because:
The condition of the soil in my heart also indicates the condition of my soul!
What is my weakest link in the garden of my heart?
Examine my life for weak links that hinder the growth of my faith and thus an intimate relationship with Christ.
Weak links: How do I spend my time? Balance growth: Time with Jesus, Others, Yourself – JOY.
RECAP - Week 2 in Review
Steps Awareness Actions

As the heart of this Lenten Retreat is what we can do to let the seeds grow and be fruitful, we first need to know “what are the seeds?” so that we can better nurture them:

  • The seeds are God’s Word
  • Jesus Himself, in person, is the seed sown.
  • It is a thirst God planted in us to help us return to Him.

The ultimate intimacy with Jesus is when His thirst for our love meets our thirst for His love.

The seeds in our souls germinate when we join Mother Mary at the foot of the cross to quench the thirst of Jesus.

Imagine yourself underneath the Cross looking up to Jesus. Feel Jesus’ personal love for you, for you alone. Encounter Him where He suffers and thirsts.

Pray for a renewed heart that will not forsake Jesus again!


What if I can’t feel the thirst of Jesus? Yes, we all suffer from a hardened heart to various extent.

We must allow the Word to accomplish God’s will in our lives. That will only happen if we respond. If we don’t, the devil will, by taking it away from us. Our hearts will then continue to suffer hardness/numbness.

In what ways am I blindfolded by my own stubbornness and preoccupations that I forsake the opportunity to respond to God?

Conquer the fear of facing Jesus by first going to confession, and then receive Jesus and be nourished by Him in the Eucharist.

Lord, open my eyes, I want to see you; grant me a heart of flesh, I want to feel you!


How do I perceive the generosity of God?

Astonished? Jealous? Fearful? Shameful?

Notice how we feel reveals our heart’s condition, and how we should address that accordingly.

Jesus loves those whom He knows will reject Him at the end. He still loves them all the same!

Compare the uncalculated love of God vs. my calculated ways to love and to act.

Do I see God as a judge, or do I see him as a merciful father? Do I consider myself too unworthy to receive his love?

Lord, soften my heart to experience your love in such a profound way so that I truly believe nothing can stop you from loving me!


God chooses to love no matter what. What are our choices?

Contrast Jesus who sows wildly, and how we abuse our given freedom wildly! Is this our decision?? Do we allow ourselves to be reckless in abusing this freedom from God?

“We cannot have it both ways; if we are free, we are responsible; if we are not responsible, we are not free.” – Venerable Fulton Sheen

Do I exercise my freedom in such a way as a response to the generosity of God to me, or is it always based on selfish motives?

Do I consider the consequences of my decisions on others and myself? Am I truly taking full responsibility for my choices in life?

Lord, help me to make choices for your greater glory!


“Who do you think that I am?” (Mark 8:29)

Relationship is at the core of our being.

This is a crucial step of this 40-day retreat. You have to see Jesus face-to-face and honestly answer His question, “Do you love me more than these?” (John 21:15)

Am I putting God above all else?

“In what way is Jesus related to me?”

Who is He to me? Do I see Jesus as my bridegroom as He describes Himself?

Am I loving and serving two masters? Am I willing to commit to this most important relationship of my life?

Read Bible: Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42)


What is still holding you back from putting Christ at the centre of your life?

Do we want “proof” before we believe or commit? “Proof” comes in different forms and shapes. It might be understanding, evidence, scientific facts, etc. Whatever that may be, it holds you back from receiving the best God has in store for you. 

“God is a Person, and the only way to understand a Person is by love, and the only way to perfect understanding is by perfect love.” (Peter Kreeft, The God Who Loves You: Love Divine, All Loves Excelling)

Commit to love and to believe first so that you can come to understand!

The hardening of our hearts is a subtle process and is orchestrated by the devil.We need to identify those aspects that have built up the walls around us, preventing God’s Word to be sown in our hearts.

“Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11)

Once we have named those dark sides of our lives, we can begin to regain the freedom in order to fend off all those attacks. We will find ourselves in a more ready and joyful state to embrace and retain God’s Word, and to say “Yes, I do.” to the Lord.


Steps Awareness Actions
“Diversion and indifference are the Devil’s two most successful weapons against faith and salvation, the two widest roads to Hell in today’s world.” – Peter Kreeft
“For man can encounter God in truth only in silence and solitude, both interior and exterior.” – Cardinal Robert Sarah
Is my life too busy and complicated? Is the soil of my heart too packed by earthly things distracting me from encountering Christ?
I will simplify and reorder my life, especially in how I spend my time, so that I can leave room to listen to God’s Word and His holy will.
Lord, I will start each day with prayers and reading the Bible to tune my mind and heart to listen to Your will.
“Indifference is farther from the love of God than hatred of God is.” – Peter Kreeft
Jesus says: “I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:15-16)
To be a disciple of Jesus, we cannot “serve two masters” (see Matthew 6:24) – we can no longer be our own masters, Jesus alone is our master. A lukewarm faith is not an authentic Christian faith.
Am I willing to get closer to Jesus, or do I rather keep a distance? Why?
I will make an intentional decision to choose Jesus as the Master of my life.
Lord, I surrender my life to you as I say the following prayer of Surrender.
A Prayer of Surrender (From Miracle Hour, by Linda Schubert)
Loving Father, I surrender to You today with all my heart and soul. Please come into my heart in a deeper way. I say “Yes,” to you today. I open all the secret places of my heart to you and say, “Come on in.” Jesus You are Lord of my whole life. I believe in You and receive You as my Lord and Savior. I hold nothing back. Holy Spirit, bring me to a deeper conversion to the person of Jesus Christ. I surrender all to You: my health, my family, my resources, occupation, skills, relationships, time management, success and failures. I release it, and let it go. I surrender my understanding of how things ought to be, my choices and my will. I surrender to You the promises I have kept and the promises I failed to keep. I surrender my weaknesses and strengths to You. I surrender my emotions, my fears, my insecurities, my sexuality. I especially surrender _______, _______, _______. (Continue to surrender other areas as the Holy Spirit reveals them to you.) Lord, I surrender my entire life to You, the past, the present and the future. In sickness and in health, in life and in death, I belong to You.
What prevents us from loving God and surrendering to Him? The root cause is our sins.
For the most part, our sinful nature stems from our self-centeredness. Self-centeredness allows Satan to use his first weapon, diversions, to break into our hearts. He uses tactics like attachments to all sorts of temporal and lesser things to distract us from choosing the better part, and then slowly leads us to the state of indifference.
Do I see God as the treasure of my life? Or is He just one part of my life?
If I truly treasure God but my sins are preventing me from loving Him, do I resolve to turn away from the roots of my sinful past and make a good confession with sincere repentance and penance in order to regain the freedom to respond to His love?
Lord, help me to choose you, and not sins?
Read Bible: The Parable of the Lost Son (Luke 15:11-32)
“As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.” (Matthew 13:20-21)
Pope Francis calls such a heart a “superficial heart: it welcomes the Lord, wants to pray, love and bear witness, but does not persevere; it becomes tired and never “takes off”. It is a heart without depth, where the rocks of laziness prevail over the good soil, where love is fickle and fleeting. But whoever welcomes the Lord only when they want to does not bear fruit.”
Am I deceiving myself to believe I’m good enough, and failing to see how I can be better? Am I afraid to acknowledge the shallowness of my faith?
Lord, help me see myself as you see me. Open the eyes of my heart so I can see the reality of my soil’s condition, be grateful for my good soil and be aware of the soil that still needs more work, and to take my first step toward improving my heart’s condition.
I am willing and desire my heart to be transformed, who can help?
Jesus said His Word is “spirit and life” (John 6:63). As we strive to let His Word remain in our hearts, He abides in us and we in Him, and in God, nothing is impossible. If we are willing to repent and invite God into those rocky areas of our hearts, the conditions of our hearts will surely change for the better.
“A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:19)
This step requires us to take time to search our hearts to name all the stones in our hearts like pride, jealousy, laziness, fear, disbelief, greed, lust, lukewarmness and others…and offer them up to the Lord for removal.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me (Psalm 51:10)
After removing those stones, it is time for the plant in our hearts to take root, taking root in our Father’s love.
Our faith needs a purpose and continuous nourishment without which we may not persevere through troubles and persecutions.
God’s love and grace are always there to nourish us, like a flowing stream to plants, but we need to respond by hanging on to Him, even if it means letting go of other things.
It is our relationship with God, rooted in our Father’s love, that is the foundation of our faith.
I need to decide what nutrients with which I nourish the plant in my heart:

  • Relationship with God rooted in our Father’s Love, or
  • Relationship with earthly and temporal matters
What do I want to be fed? The choice is mine to make.
Meditate on Bible passages that reflect God’s love for me.
(Suggestions: Psalm 139, Psalm 23, Isaiah 43:1-7, and John 3:16)


Dear FLL team,
Thank you sincerely for launching this 40-Day Online Lenten Retreat. My friends and I are so delighted to be a part. We are especially grateful to you all for your dedicated service which has helped us to live out the spirit of this Lent by getting closer to Christ on this passover journey.
There are also Protestant believers in my friends and family. They also introduced this Lenten Retreat to their friends and communities. Praise be to God. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, this online retreat has become virtual ecumenical gathering beyond time and boundary! At the same time, knowing that people from China can also participate in this retreat, receiving reflection on a daily basis, is something we should all praise God for.
May the blessings of Heavenly Father fill every one of you and your family. God bless.

- Ms Siu (Macau)

Additional Resources

1)The following are some multimedia productions related to Lent produced by Fountain of Love and Life and some other relevant resources. Click here.

2) Fr. Francis’ Homily (Third Sunday of Lent)

3) Homily of Fr. Francis Ching on Ash Wednesday 2020

Subscribe FLL Newspiration: Let this FREE weekly e-newsletter nourish your soul and strengthen your faith.


Day 11
  • Connecting with God is like saying good morning to your Mom and Dad, natural and nice. In building this habit, we get closer and have His Blessing of the day!
  • I feel my uncertainty and worries lessened when I pray and read the gospel on a daily basis. May God grant us the fortitude and eagerness to know the importance of our priorities. God bless!
  • Read more…
Day 12
  • I am scared to have God to be my master as I don’t have the courage to hop out of my comfort zone, to do things which are not pleasing. Please help me God to totally surrender myself, be Your humble servant and love my neighbours as You have loved is.
  • I welcome God to be the sole leader of my life. I have been in charge of myself for so long and brought much struggles. I am happy to be relying on God, the trustful God. He must take me into a right track.
  • Read more…
Day 13
  • Relationship takes time. Thus one needs to spend time with Jesus and interact with Him through prayers. With love, it is difficult to forget and neglect HIS words! That is why Jesus yearn for our love.
  • Yes indeed, I once was lost and ran away from God, using daily commitments to family and work as excuses……Now I am learning to face and acknowledge my own weaknesses and past failings, accepting Jesus as my Master. Step by step, I hope to regain God’s love and rebuild my Love for the Lord who has given me everything, including my weaknesses! God, hear my prayer!
  • Read more…
Day 14
  • It’s sometimes a painful experience to face my inner self and discover that I am not such a good person as I think I am. This reminds me when I want to critisize my neighbours ~ that I am in fact no better than they are. Lord, give me the wisdom and courage to know myself and live truly as to how You want me to be.
  • Read more…
  • Lord, please take my stones away. Please clear my heart and mind and soul, well prepared for YOU and YOUR words and will.
  • God, Please remove from me the heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh.
  • Read more…