Congratulations, you have completed Week Four of this 40-Day Lenten Retreat! As we rejoice in His blessings of this past week and prepare ourselves for this Fourth Sunday of Lent, let us again 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.
Together with Christ, we can ride out the storm.
While there are many reasons for us to give thanks, we are all burdened by the severe Covid-19 pandemic that is affecting each and everyone of us on this planet, our global village. To different extent, we are worried, anxious, disappointed, distressed, or even feeling hopeless. Let us not forget that GOD IS LOVE, and indeed He cares about each one of us, especially those who are suffering. This is the time for us to renew our faith and our FULL TRUST in Him, and with joyful anticipation to the Resurrection that is guaranteed to come. Let us be united in spirit and prayers, no matter where we are, as we ride out the storm. Jesus is in the boat! Please be assured of our prayers during this difficult time!
Building habits that sustain spiritual growth
As we have crossed the midpoint of Lent, it is time for us to seriously think about building healthy habits in preparation of sustaining our spiritual growth after this Lenten Season. We suggest that you review and pick out from those daily invitations to action and to nurture them into habits. And if you haven’t been able to do a review of the week in the past, we encourage you to find time to do a review this week so that you can reinforce your learning and reflection during this Lenten Retreat. You can gain an overall picture of the journey we have travelled together so far.
Beyond Farmer of Hearts…
Lastly, in order for us to notify you of any potential future plans following this Farmer of Hearts campaign, please do sign up using this link if you haven’t done so previously. (Signing up means you are receiving our daily content through email.) Let us pray that this online retreat continues to bear fruits for all the farmers!
Now, let us say a prayer before we begin the review of this week’s retreatNow, 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 4 in review

The following table highlights the process of our Week 4 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 Reviews from Week 1 to Week 3 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.


RECAP - Week 3 in Review
Step 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 with which nutrients I shall 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)
Step Awareness Actions
Taking root in faith, and in particular, taking root in our Father’s love is not a once-and-for-all action, it requires great effort and perseverance.
“For us Christians, dying with Christ is past (since it had already happened in baptism), the resurrection is future, perseverance is present.
Faith, after all, is an ongoing relationship between God and those who believe in Him, a relationship that needs to be sustained.
How well have I persevered in faith? Have I ever run away from God? How much love have I invested in keeping my faith and my relationship with God?
I will take time to reassess my personal relationship with God and to repent and confess my sin for having ever abandoned Him.
I will take one extra step to make good use of St. Peter’s 8 qualities of Christian life to build up my virtues growing from individual level to community level.
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion, devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love. (2 Peter 1:5-7)
As you will see, these 8 qualities of Christian life will go a long way as we progress in this Lenten spiritual journey.
With perseverance, the seeds in our hearts have grown up; however, the thorns in our gardens get in the way!
Pope Francis interprets the thorns as “the vices which come to blows with God, which choke his presence: above all these are the idols of worldly wealth, living avidly, for oneself, for possessions and for power. If we cultivate these thorns, we choke God’s growth within us… and that prevent us from having a clean heart. It is necessary to tear them out, otherwise the Word cannot bear fruit, the seed will not grow.” (Pope Francis Angelus Address)
Oftentimes, the thorns grow in a subtle way that escapes our awareness. Just as any farmers pay close attention to the growth of the weeds, so must we as farmers of hearts.
Am I aware of the thorns that prevent God’s Word from growing in my heart? What are those thorns?
“proot from that garden the stinking weeds filled with impurity and avarice, and bloated with pride.” – St. Catherine of Siena
It comes to our attention that many of such thorns are in fact our worries in life!
It is rather normal to worry about our needs because we are not self-sufficient. The truth is God knows all our needs, and He is a good Father who provides!
The key is, as Jesus promised, to “seek first for the kingdom [of God] and His righteousness, and all these things [that you need] will be given you”. (Matthew 6:33)
“Do not be afraid to abandon yourself unreservedly to His loving providence, for a child cannot perish in the arms of a Father who is omnipotent.” – St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
I would read and meditate on Matthew 6:25-34, and list out all the worries that bother me at the moment, and surrender them all to the Lord in prayer:
“Jesus, I surrender my life and my worries to You, please take care of everything!”
Trust the past to the mercy of God, the present to His love, and the future to His providence.” – St. Augustine of Hippo
Now that we have offered up those worries in life to God, for the rest of the thorns, we need to identify those distractions in life that are pulling us away from God, the better part.
“Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)
We are distracted because of many different reasons. Even though some of which are good, yet many might also tie with desires and pleasures, selfish motives or ambitions, or out of fear, or lack of security.
What are the root causes of my distractions in life that distract me from the better part?
If I have to rank the most important things in my life, where is Jesus on my list?What are the priorities in my life?
“Let nothing disturb you,Let nothing frighten you… Whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices.” ― St. Teresa of Avila
Lord, I will continue to set a time for morning prayer each day, so my day will start with you.
Now that we have made up a list of our priorities in life, it is time to make up our minds to choose only those that can ultimately lead us to God. Our priorities are our treasures, and “where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
We certainly do not want our heart to be buried among junks that are disguised as treasures! Treasures should be by nature permanent, instead of temporary. As such, that should be heavenly, instead of earthly. Pleasures, possessions, and power are earthly and cannot be brought into eternity (Heaven). So, let us all choose wisely.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
Where actually is my heart?
Does my lifestyle reveal that my heart is still set on pleasing myself in the here and now?
Am I still storing my treasures on earth? Or rather, am I willing to begin storing my treasures in heaven, where my heart should rightfully belong?
“No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.” (Matthew 6:24)
Lord, help me choose the way of the Gospel that leads me to everlasting joy and life in you, even if it means letting some of my worldly desires go.
Hope we have all made the decision to choose the RIGHT MASTER of our lives. Now is the time to focus on bearing fruits in rich soil!
“The seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.” (Matthew 13:23)
God does not want us to barely produce fruits, but to bear fruits in abundance! Not fruits that will corrupt, but fruits that last! And God wants us to reach the highest potential that we are created for, aiming for the highest good!
To bear fruits means we are to become virtuous. If we are living our lives the way God intends, then we would produce the fruits of the Holy Spirit which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (see Galatians 5:22-23).
These spiritual fruits will eventually lead us to yield a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.” (Matthew 13:23)
Do you hear the spirit within your heart calling you to be who you are meant to be? To bear the fruits God wants us to bear?
What fruits am I hoping to bear in my life? The fruits that I can carry with me into heaven like the spiritual fruits, or earthly fruits that I have to leave behind?
Lord, help me to produce the fruits that you desire in me. Cultivate in me the good soil that helps me to bear the spiritual fruits leading me to eternal life.

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) Daily and Sunday Mass celebrated by Fr. Francis Ching (Video)

Time: 10am (HK time) / 10pm (Eastern Time)

Click for more videos.

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


Day 17
  • Very thankful to see your response, George. I’m more than happy to continue this discussion. Please give me a day or two. God bless!
  • 天主,藉著祢聖言的啓滴和心田農夫的帶動下,希望我和家人及朋友都能繼續每天跟天主交往,善盡基督徒的本分!學習愛己愛人為本!以主基督為榜樣!亞孟!
  • Read more…
Day 18
  • 仁慈的天父,祈求除去我的雜草, 感謝天主
  • 天主,儘管我有荊棘,我都會不被它們阻礙我親近祢,求祢幫助我成就這事。亞孟。
  • Read more…
Day 19
  • Sad to see many do not seem to be subscribing to Matthew 6:25-26, with the way they are behaving in supermarkets during this current covid-19 crisis. May God have mercy on us all for we have fallen short of His glory!
  • 的確,實在不用太過掛慮,主,就將一切都交給你。
  • Read more…
Day 20
  • A wonderful reminder for all of us during this period of confusion, anxiety. Thank God.
    Whoever has God lacks nothing. God alone suffices.
  • Thanks God for giving me power to release from all sorrows ad anxiety!! Tomorrow must be more better!! Let’s fight for the difficulties!!
  • Read more…
Day 21
  • 仁慈的天父,今星期我會努力看靈修書。感謝天主
  • 天主,請给我力量,時刻警醒我,要凝望祢,聼從祢,請助我選擇祢而不是世上的物慾!
  • Read more…