Happy Easter! The Lord is Risen! Alleluia!

Congratulations, you have successfully completed this 40-Day Lenten Retreat! What an accomplishment! Let us all give thanks to God for His abundant blessings! Just as we had remembered Jesus as He was tempted by the Devil during His 40 days in the desert in preparation of His earthly ministry, Jesus had remembered and accompanied us throughout our 40-Day Lenten Retreat to prepare our hearts to celebrate His Glorious Resurrection. May our old self die with Jesus on the Cross, and our new self be born with the Risen Lord!

We have received a lot of positive feedback regarding this 40-Day Lenten Retreat. Praise the Lord! Our good Lord has been blessing not only all the farmers, but also our “Farmer of Hearts” Team here at FLL. We are seriously discerning God’s will regarding our next steps for this Lenten project. We pray that by Pentecost, a clear picture will be revealed to us by God the Holy Spirit. We sincerely ask you to pray for this discernment. In the meantime, we will seek your input and keep you informed because you are an important member of this big Farmers family! We will be sending you a survey in the next few days. Stay tuned!

Have a Blessed and Happy Easter!

Now, let us say a prayer before we begin this last review of this Lenten 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. 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 7 in review

The following table highlights the process of our Week 7 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 6 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.
2
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)

4
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)
5
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
1

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!

2

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!

3

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!

4

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!

5

“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)

6

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
1
“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.
2
“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.
3
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)
4
“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.
5
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)
6
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)
RECAP - Week 4 in Review
Step Awareness Actions
1
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.
2
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
3
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
4
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.
5
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.
6
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.
RECAP - Week 5 in Review
Step Awareness Actions
1
On Day 22, we talk about choosing between bearing spiritual fruits vs. earthly fruits; and that God wants us to reach the highest potential that we are created for. Having set a goal, we now need to act on it, or else solely having a goal bears no fruits for us.
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.” (Matthew 7:24)
We start by observing the greatest commandments taught by Jesus: love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. (see Matthew 22:34-40) This is a sure path to become virtuous in God’s eyes and we will bear great spiritual fruits as a result.
Am I practicing what I believe?
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” — St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa)
Dear Lord, I will do something new and kind to a neighbour today that would reflect Your love.
2
How can you be fruitful if Jesus is not in you and you in Him?
On our own, we simply cannot reach our highest potential. The only way we can do so is to attach to Jesus, the true Vine, and we ourselves become the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
How connected am I to Christ?
St. Paul tells us how he goes about his daily life: “it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20 RSV).
We must let Jesus live in us; and let Him take over our whole being! When we do that, He will give us the grace to do what He wants us to do and to become who He wants us to be.
“Give what you command and command what you will.” (St. Augustine, Confessions X, 29, 40)
3
When we are attached to Christ, fruitfulness is guaranteed. But that does not mean that we can relax and wait for the harvest. Unless we are vigilant and diligent, wild grapes (fruits that God does not will for us) will grow.
Through baptism, every Christian has entered into a covenant relationship with God and has been blessed to receive the baptismal grace. We are God’s vineyards and have been given fertile soil. As we are given the BEST, we need to yield the BEST as well. We should aim to have a good harvest: 100/60/30 times!
Let not our God be disappointed to see wild grapes starting to grow in us instead of the choicest grapes.
As God’s vineyard, am I growing rich and delicious grapes or wild grapes? Am I making good use of the rich soil He has prepared for me?
I shall remain vigilant at all times to monitor the fruits being grown in me.
I shall seek God for help and give Him permission to cut away the wild grapes in me, and ask for His grace to help me grow only the best grapes the way that He wants them to be.
4
God does not only cut away the bad fruits or branches that do not bear fruits, but He also prunes us so that we become stronger to bear better fruits. And the way He does this is to allow difficulties and even sufferings to happen to us. Pruning also allows us to remain focused in using God’s given gifts to me in order to bear God’s chosen fruits in me.
[H]e prunes so that it bears more fruit (John 15:2).
God is our loving Gardener. Hardships and sufferings are mysteriously His way to help us grow better and bear more fruits. We must persevere and remain faithful to Him. It’s a discipleship that demands humility and suffering, just as our Lord has “humbled himself, becoming obedient to death” (Philippians 2:8).
Will you take up your cross and follow me (see Matthew 16:24)?
When it’s God’s will that I take up my cross and follow Jesus (see Matthew 16:24), do I have the courage and love to obey and see it as God’s pruning?
Heavenly Father, grant me the determination to walk with Christ, not only when things are going well, but also when hardships are all around. Help me accept your pruning so that I will grow better and bear more fruit.
5
When we are faithful up to this stage, we should give thanks to God while at the same time, take heart. For sure, Satan does not take delight in this and will do everything he can to destroy our previous efforts. Now, we should keep doing the right things in a persistent way, and this demands great discipline!
“Nothing we take seriously is unaccompanied by discipline.” — Bishop Robert Barron homily (15th Sunday, Ordinary Time, Word on Fire)
Now is the test whether we are taking our relationship with God seriously. Faith is about relationships. What can we do to prevent our relationship with God from breaking?
“Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one.” (1 Corinthians 9:25).
To prevent our relationship with God from breaking or weakening, we need to become an “athlete of Christ”!
Am I an “athlete of Christ” who trains regularly and vigorously for devotion? As an “athlete of Christ”, how complete and well-executed is my training routine?
I shall exercise discipline to nurture my relationship with Christ by praying more often, studying the Scriptures, and leading a virtuous and holy life.
6
When we have set up a good training routine, we just need to keep on immersing ourselves in the best nutrients God has lovingly prepared for us through His Word, and the Sacraments through His Church, to keep ourselves “fertilized”.
If we choose to be open to having an intimate encounter with the Word, a radical transformation will begin to take place; and the power of the Holy Spirit will conform us to Christ until we are truly worthy of being called the children of God.
Do we feel as connected to Jesus Christ as it ought and is meant to be? Like branches to the vine, children to the Father?
We ought to remind ourselves that, ultimately, to receive the Word is to welcome Him into us to take over our heart, our mind, and our being until “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).
Do I completely immerse myself in Christ with complete trust, and to His Church? Do I truly delight in the Word of God?
I need to truly believe that if I am a child of God, I am also heir of God and joint heirs with Christ. (cf. Romans 8:17) And I should be convinced that nothing but the very best He has been providing me, and will continue to provide for me, forever.
Jesus, I am all Yours, and You are mine!
RECAP - Week 6 in Review
Step Awareness Actions
1
If we remain in Christ, and fully immerse ourselves in His love and providence, He will give us more than what we need and ask for. He will anoint our heads with oil, and our cups will overflow (cf. Psalm 23:5). When we have tasted the goodness of our Lord, we cannot contain the joy but to share it with others, instantly!
The flowering of the Christian faith is when one feels compelled by Christ to witness to his love. This is when pollination begins in the garden of our hearts.
Feeling compelled by Christ's love to share his good news is a good indicator of spiritual maturity. It suggests to us that the seed sown by God is growing well in our hearts. But feeling compelled to share the Gospel is one thing, doing it effectively is quite another.
Two important virtues that we must practise in order to be successful in being “a living gospel to others” are love and humility. The Christian message of love needs to be shared with genuine love. And we must have the humility to accept that conversion of human hearts is God's work, not ours. St. Paul speaks from personal experience: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:6).
2
In the name of Jesus I humbly implore: grant me the love and the humility to share your Gospel effectively and lovingly with those who choose to turn away from You. And do it for Your glory and not mine.
How connected am I to Christ?
St. Paul tells us how he goes about his daily life: “it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20 RSV).
We must let Jesus live in us; and let Him take over our whole being! When we do that, He will give us the grace to do what He wants us to do and to become who He wants us to be.
“Give what you command and command what you will.” (St. Augustine, Confessions X, 29, 40)
3
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few.” (Matthew 9:37)
“Whom shall I send?” God asked a pressing question in Isaiah 6:8. The Catechism reminds us that through Baptism and Confirmation, we are consecrated to participate in Christ's mission as priests, prophets and kings (cf. CCC 1546).
To exercise our priestly duty well – to be a good sower of the Lord – our lay ministries must be exercised in unity with Christ. Since the Church is the Body of Christ, it means we must submit ourselves to the teaching authority of the Church. Also, to ensure we continue to grow spiritually, we are encouraged by the Church to build or join small church communities (cf. Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People n.10, Vatican II).
To grow in holiness and to evangelize effectively, we need community support. We simply cannot achieve these goals alone.
I will seek out opportunities to join or form a small community of faith.
4
Do you know how important you are to God?
God relentlessly relates to us in so many different ways, and Jesus did everything He could so that we can once again, become one thing to the Father, His children. God gives us everything, yet we give back so little.
A marital relationship has to be mutual in how husband and wife commit to one another. This is how God sees our relationship. It is a covenant. It won’t last if one gives everything while the other commits only a little. And this imbalance is oftentimes the root of all the other problems. If this piece doesn’t work, nothing else will.
God is all in! And so must we, if we really take it seriously.
Do I see my relationship with God as the most important relationship I have in life? Am I willing to commit to God all in?
Dear Lord, help me to say Yes to You just as Mother Mary accepted You completely into her life. Beginning today, I shall fixate my gaze on You always, to really taste Your goodness!
5
God doesn't call the qualified but qualifies the called.
Oftentimes, we feel that we are too weak and sinful to be useful to God. The inferiority within us dictates our heart and our actions. But God assures us that the power doesn't come from ourselves, it is from God the Holy Spirit. “For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
Indeed, fear not if we are still weak, and sinful. As humans, we will always be like that! No matter how hard we try and how capable we are, we will always feel inferior when we receive God's “assignment”. At the moment that He calls, it is not the end result that God cares, it is our trusting in Him that counts. Because He knows if we allow Him to work through us, the good results are assured. Just remain faithful and trustworthy, and along the way, let God take the driver's seat.
Lord, I decide to focus not on my limitations, my weaknesses, my imperfections, and my sinfulness, and be crippled by these thoughts. I will commit myself anew to look upon Your faithfulness and Your promise to provide for all that I need. Lord, help me to choose You, rather than myself.
6
“In spreading the Gospel, we can't simply be a storyteller, we ought to become the story itself.” ── Fr. Giovanni Giampietro
In spreading God's Word, we ought to proclaim to others the very core of the gospel message ── our salvation through Jesus Christ.
We also need to witness how God is loving us and working in our lives, and how He becomes the source of our Hope especially at times when things seem to go wrong. To be effective, we need to be a joyful witness. And this JOY comes from nowhere but a true encounter with Christ. “We can't give what we don't have. When we consider the mission of the Church to bring Christ to the world, we'll be silent unless we have personal knowledge and experience of a living God.” (Clear & Simple, by Andre Regnier) We need to take every opportunity in our lives to encounter Jesus.
“A compelling testimony draws people to meet Jesus for themselves…and then go back to bring others… A testimony can map out a pathway for conversion.” (Clear & Simple, by Andre Regnier)
Dear Lord, thank you for allowing me to experience Your deep and personal love for me. Let Your love within me overflow to others making me a conduit of Your holy love to the world.
As my response to Your invitation, Lord, I decide to encounter You in all things, to feel Your presence in every person that I meet, and to become Your image to others.
Step Awareness Actions
1
Jesus knows that we are weak, we are imperfect. He does not force us to love Him the way He expects but accepts and embraces us as we are.
Nonetheless, that doesn't dampen His LOVE for us nor refrain from granting us important responsibilities.
He will certainly empower us as we take on such tasks we ourselves are not capable of completing. Just as St. Peter was not afraid to take on the daunting task to lead the Church because he put Christ at the centre of his life, so must we follow his role model.
It is important for us to first accept our own sinfulness and limitations. Then take courage to return to God to seek His forgiveness while pledging our love for Him again. Put God back at the centre of our lives, and place our full trust in Him as we respond to His call.
“Trust in Him, and “Do whatever He tells you.” (John 2:5)
2
“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)
God wants us to succeed in accomplishing our mission on earth, just like Mary did, and we do have an indispensable role to play in His masterplan. God wills it for us from the beginning of Creation. He is waiting for our YES to begin the next chapter of our life story. And we can turn to Him for help even for this first task of saying YES. Then we have nothing to boast…
Jesus said, “my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30) We know that Jesus does not lie and He really means it. That’s why Mary told the servants at the wedding of Cana to trust in Jesus, saying “Do whatever He tells you.” (John 2:5)
Have I been fearful when God calls on me? What are the reasons behind my not saying YES to God?
Dear Lord, please pardon my saying NO to you in the past. Please cast away all my fears. Help me to allow Your Spirit into my heart to help me say YES to You whenever You call on me. I will put my full trust in You, just as Mother Mary does.
3
What are the secrets that have made Mother Mary successful in responding to and accomplishing God's mission in her?
Mary's way is a simple way:

  • One goal in life: to do God's will
  • One focus in life: to serve and follow Jesus and to bring others to Him
  • Talk little. Insist on treasuring every word from God: “Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)
  • Allow not herself nor her own thoughts clutter her mind or distract her from attending to God's will every moment of her life.
  • Live in the moment, and let nothing trouble her.
  • By being receptive to the movements of the Holy Spirit, she knows what to do in order to cooperate with Jesus in accomplishing the Father's will.
Imitate Mary by reflecting on her life and her relationship with Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit.
Adopt Mary's way and make it my own, especially her quality of treasuring in her heart every word from God.
“The word of God ought to be the central organizing power and principle of our lives.” ― Bishop Robert Barron
4
How can I accurately discern God’s will in my life?
Discerning God's will is a lifetime learning process. It is not a one-time thing, nor can it be “mastered” in a way that is foolproof. There are a lot of very good discernment methodologies out there, most notably, St. Ignatius' Discernment of the Spirits to help us discern God’s will, which is one of the most important life skills to learn. There are also some basic concepts and life attitudes that can help us navigate through this maze of hearing God's voice in our lives.

  • Simplify our life: Have one or two simple goal(s) in life. Drop other unimportant ones.
  • Be sensitive to the minute movement of the Spirit in our lives as well as the subtle movement of the evil spirit who tried hard to take our eyes off God. These two “senses” helped us to choose the right thing and avoid the wrong one.
  • Follow the three-step instructions from Jesus in helping us to discern: “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
“Our concern must be to know God’s will. We must enter that path: if God wants, when God wants, how God wants.” St. Gianna Molla.
Am I prepared to make lifestyle and attitude changes that will help me better listen to God's voice?
I will make concrete plans to simplify my life by letting go of the things that will not lead me to You, and resolve to deny myself, take up my cross daily and follow You.
5
Do you know how much God loves you?
Knowing how much God loves us helps us to put everything in the right perspective.
But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
The exchange of the intense love between God the Father and God the Son expresses itself in their intense love for us. The Father’s merciful love is in the Son, and the Son’s Passion is also in the Father. God the Father and God the Son invested every ounce of their love in each one of us.
Imagine the excruciating pain inflicted on the Hearts of the Father and the Son bearing the suffering of each other when Jesus was dying on the Cross! This… is the total outpouring of His Love on the Cross, both from the Son, and from the Father! This is the price that God the Father and God the Son have paid for you, and for me!
Knowing how much God has loved me, do I still allow my own sins and my pride to separate me from the love of God?
Dear Lord, I will come to and stay at the bottom of Your holy cross, where you are still suffering for my sins, to quench Your thirst . I desire to love You from now on with all my heart, all my being, all my strength, and all my mind.
6
Am I drawing water from the true fountain?
From the beginning of time, people have been yearning for something bigger than themselves.
Using our free will, we make decisions in life reacting to the external or internal conditions. These decisions are affected by our attitude and perception in life.
Indeed, God has given all of us the freedom to choose our way and our path. A free will given to us out of love. Yet, we need to understand that there are consequences for every decision we make.
Our lives are made up of a lot of big and small decisions. The wrong decision could lead us to grave consequences like what Judas ended up when he couldn't face his own sinfulness; or to abandon God totally to rely solely on oneself when God’s way does not fit one's way.
We need to draw water from the right fountain! Or else, not only will we be unable to quench the thirst of our souls, but we also won’t be able to smoothly return to the Father's house at the end.
Dear Lord, I come back to You again, after wandering to look for my own treasures in life. I have finally realized that You alone is what I thirst for and You alone are enough for me. Forgive me for my desire to intoxicate myself with worldly treasures. From this day onward, I desire to be intoxicated only by Your holy love.
As my response to Your invitation, Lord, I resolve to make one firm decision to choose You as my heart's desire, to treasure You as I have never been, and to fend off everything that will ever distract me from following You closely.
Dear Lord, I am Yours, and You are mine!

“It hasn't been easy but I have persevered to Day 21 now. The joy is equivalent to my participation at the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon when I reached the Tsing Ma Bridge! God's Word strengthens my belief that “Persistence produces Success”. The Daily Reflection is liken to breathing in oxygen and exhaling all fatigue, while Prayers fill me with Hope spiritually. Praise be to God! And my gratitude to your team by offering this program!”

- D. Law

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.

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Day 3529
  • Thank you God for loving me so much and unconditionally! Ole let me love you the same
  • Lord, please help me to prepare to accept myself as who I am and allow You to enter to heal my wounds and make me whole again.
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Day 36
  • Lord, how I wish I can be more like Mother Mary in just giving you a simple 『yes』. Please forgive me when I say 『no』 to You as I am still a person of little faith. Do help me Lord !
  • Thank you for leading me through the spiritual live.
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Day 37
  • Mama Mary, I love you 💕 kindly guide me to your way in focusing my life to God always
  • I desire to have the qualities of Mary of silence, gentleness. To learn more from Our Lady, I need to pray and meditate on the Rosary and read the books and scriptures on Her as as to imitate Her to get closer to Jesus. As She is the First Tabernacle of Jesus.
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Day 38
  • Thank you for reminding us that the skill of discernment is a life~learning process!
  • I have to change my life style to spend time in silence and listen to the Words of God and spend more time in meditation on the Scriptures. To listen to God in silence and discerning God’s will in my life.
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Day 39
  • I truly appreciate God’s bottomless love for me. I didn’t allow my sins and my pride to separate me from the love of God through the attending and prays and good counselling of good priests and praying my rosary and Precious Blood Devotions etc.
  • Read more…