Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Saint February 27 : St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows : Patron of: Students, Youth, Seminarians : Passionist Monk

February 27, marks the feast day of Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows (1838-1862), the patron saint of young people, students, and young religious. Saint Gabriel’s short life is marked by piety, faith, and obedience to the Lord, and religious vocation at the behest of Our Blessed Mother. While the last six years of his life, spent as a brother in the Passionist Order, were marked by humility, self-denial, and simplicity, Gabriel’s early life was quite the opposite. His complete consecration of his life to the Lord, despite the temptations of the modern world which he so loved, make his sacrifice a vivid example of the Christian love and obedience we should strive for.
Born Francis Possenti, in Assisi, Italy in 1838, Saint Gabriel was the eleventh of thirteen children produced by the union of his parents. His father, a pious man with great political recognition in the area, and his mother, a well-connected religious woman from a respected family, were delighted in their son. He was baptized at the same font that his saintly namesake had been baptized nearly 600 years earlier.
From an early age, Francis demonstrated the potential for thoughtfulness and piety. He encouraged his teacher and siblings to pay more attention to the poor, oftentimes choosing to give some of his portions to those in need. Before he reached the age of four, his mother passed away from a serious illness, as did four of his siblings. Francis, the most sensitive of the family, was severely moved by these losses, increasing his empathy for others and his sensitivity to those in need.
As Francis matured, he developed insight into the fact that he was smart, charming, and attractive. He pursued hedonistic pleasures like art and theater, which he would later write to friends almost “cost him his soul.” He dressed to perfection, paying careful attention to his appearance. Francis excelled at school, and was generally the award-winner in all of his classes. He was chosen to give his commencement address upon graduation from the Jesuit College. Francis embraced the world, and to his classmates and friends, he appeared to have all the tools required for great success. He was the center of attention wherever he went, all the doors of the finest families and establishments open to him throughout the city. And while he was impulsive, prone to anger, and pridefully vain, he was poised to achieve great worldly things.
But Francis felt called in a different direction. Twice, Francis came down with serious illnesses while in school, illnesses he was not expected to recover from. During these times, he prayed to the Lord, promising to become a religious if his life was spared. While a student at the Jesuit College, he had asked permission to enter the Order, and was granted permission from his spiritual director. But Francis delayed entering the Order, finding reasons to wait. He maintained his faith, praying daily in the chapel and receiving the Eucharist, but could not commit to the religious life and give up his worldly enjoyments. As time went on, Francis began to doubt his choice of the Jesuit Order, instead feeling called to become a Passionist, the Order formed by Saint John of the Cross. His spiritual director encouraged him to wait and pray, and see where the Lord led him.
Following the cholera outbreak in 1856, the town rejoiced in thanks to the Blessed Mother, who interceded to save Spoleto. In veneration, a statue of Our Lady was carried throughout the streets. Francis observed the procession, more curious than devoted. As the statue was carried past him, he gazed into the face of the Blessed Virgin, and through the eyes of the statue, Mary pierced his heart with a gaze so strong it felt as a ‘dart of fire.” At the same time, he heard the words deep within in, “Why! thou art not made for the world! What art thou doing in the world? Hasten, become a religious!”
From that moment, Francis’ life changed. He entered the noviatiate of the Passionists, where he would live until his death. The Passionist Order is a strict order, and his family and friends urged him not to commit to such a life. Rather, they suggested he become a priest, or better yet, not become a religious and use his “talents” in the world. Francis was not to be disuaded. After his initial retreat, he was clothed in the robes of the Passionists, and gave up his name for a new name: Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows.
His days were spent in prayer, chanting, study, and manual labor. The Passionist Order maintains a rule of silence, and speaking was forbidden without permission. Gabriel spent the majority of his time meditating on the Passion of Christ, and praying the Rosary to Our Lady of Sorrows. Despite the rules and strict lifestyle, Gabriel was filled with joy. “My life is a continuous delight; what I experience inside these sacred walls is almost inexpressible; the 24 hours of the day seem to me like 24 short instants; really my life is full of delight.” He looked at each sacrifice as a way in which to polish away his sinful life, his pride, his vanity, and devote his life to Jesus. He wrote, “I will attempt day by day to break my will into pieces. I want to do God’s Holy Will, not my own”
Saint Gabriel looked to the Blessed Mother as his comfort and refuge in times of suffering, of which he had plenty due to illness. He wrote of her to his brother, “Love Mary!… She is loveable, faithful, constant. She will never let herself be outdone in love, but will ever remain supreme. If you are in danger, she will hasten to free you. If you are troubled, she will console you. If you are sick, she will bring you relief. If you are in need, she will help you. She does not look to see what kind of person you have been. She simply comes to a heart that wants to love her. She comes quickly and opens her merciful heart to you, embraces you and consoles and serves you. She will even be at hand to accompany you on the trip to eternity.” Within a few years of joining the Order, Gabriel was stricken with Consumption. He died a slow and painful death, over the course of two years, during which he maintained a cheerful and joyous disposition, so much so that his brothers in the Order wished to spend their days with him. In his dying moments, he asked for his picture of the Crucifixion, with the Blessed Virgin standing at the foot of the cross. It was well-worn from use. He devoutly kissed it, placed it upon him, folded his hands across it, and began to pray. With indescribable love he began to say aloud: “Oh, my Mother make haste, make haste!”
Many from the Order watched and prayed in his cell with him, as they knew his moment of death was close at hand. They were moved to tears by his devotion, and by the love with which he implored the comfort of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. By their records, Gabriel suddenly turned his eyes to the left and above him, gazing in rapture upon some heavenly vision. With a peaceful smile, he died, never letting go of his beloved picture. Not yest a priest when he died at age 24, Gabriel was buried at the Passionist retreat in Isola di Gran Sasso, Italy.
Since his death, numerous miracles have been reported via his intercession. For exmaple, Saint Gemma (1878-1903), a young woman with numerous ailments including deafness from meningitis, paralysis, abcesses, and curvature of the spine was miraculously cured after praying a novena to Saint Gabriel. In her own words, "I grew in admiration of his virtues and his ways. My devotion to him increased. At night I did not sleep without having his picture under my pillow, and after that I began to see him near me. I don’t know how to explain this, but I felt his presence. At all times and in every action Brother Gabriel came to mind.”
When she was approximately 20, and on her deathbed, Gemma began her novena to Saint Gabriel. While trying to sleep, she heard the rattling of a Rosary and he appeared to her, saying, “Do you wish to recover? Pray with faith every evening to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I will come to you until the Novena is ended, and will pray together to this Most Sacred Heart.” On the last night of the Novena, Gemma was miraculously cured of all her ailments, a scientific impossibility at the time. Saint Gemma went on to be visited by the Blessed Virgin Mary, and bore the stigmata throughout her prayerful life, committed to Jesus.
One of his brothers wrote of him: “In the garden within the monastery walls at Isola stands a large crucifix. A seed fell to the ground before it. A plant sprang up, and twined itself around the cross until it reached the feet of the figure nailed upon it. It then bent outward, as if to behold what was above. A bud formed, swelled, burst into bloom, and gazed in loving awe upon the figure of Christ Crucified. Lo! it was a true flower of the Passion! Its heart was pierced and stamped with the signs of Him Who hung upon the cross. The seed that fell at the foot of the crucifix was Francis Possenti. The plant that grew there from and flowered was Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, Passionist.”
Text shared from 365 Rosaries

Pope Francis Lent Message "Lent is a sacramental sign of this conversion.... above all by fasting, prayer and almsgiving." FULL Official Text


MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
FOR LENT 2019

For the creation waits with eager longing
for the revealing of the children of God
” (Rm 8: 19)

Dear Brothers and Sisters
Each year, through Mother Church, God “gives us this joyful season when we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery with mind and heart renewed… as we recall the great events that gave us new life in Christ” (Preface of Lent I). We can thus journey from Easter to Easter towards the fulfilment of the salvation we have already received as a result of Christ’s paschal mystery – “for in hope we were saved” (Rom 8:24). This mystery of salvation, already at work in us during our earthly lives, is a dynamic process that also embraces history and all of creation. As Saint Paul says, “the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God” (Rom 8:19). In this perspective, I would like to offer a few reflections to accompany our journey of conversion this coming Lent.
1. The redemption of creation
The celebration of the Paschal Triduum of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection, the culmination of the liturgical year, calls us yearly to undertake a journey of preparation, in the knowledge that our being conformed to Christ (cf. Rom 8:29) is a priceless gift of God’s mercy.
When we live as children of God, redeemed, led by the Holy Spirit (cf. Rom 8:14) and capable of acknowledging and obeying God’s law, beginning with the law written on our hearts and in nature, we also benefit creation by cooperating in its redemption. That is why Saint Paul says that creation eagerly longs for the revelation of the children of God; in other words, that all those who enjoy the grace of Jesus’ paschal mystery may experience its fulfilment in the redemption of the human body itself. When the love of Christ transfigures the lives of the saints in spirit, body and soul, they give praise to God. Through prayer, contemplation and art, they also include other creatures in that praise, as we see admirably expressed in the “Canticle of the Creatures” by Saint Francis of Assisi (cf. Laudato Si’, 87). Yet in this world, the harmony generated by redemption is constantly threatened by the negative power of sin and death.
2. The destructive power of sin
Indeed, when we fail to live as children of God, we often behave in a destructive way towards our neighbours and other creatures – and ourselves as well – since we begin to think more or less consciously that we can use them as we will. Intemperance then takes the upper hand: we start to live a life that exceeds those limits imposed by our human condition and nature itself. We yield to those untrammelled desires that the Book of Wisdom sees as typical of the ungodly, those who act without thought for God or hope for the future (cf. 2:1-11). Unless we tend constantly towards Easter, towards the horizon of the Resurrection, the mentality expressed in the slogans “I want it all and I want it now!” and “Too much is never enough”, gains the upper hand.
The root of all evil, as we know, is sin, which from its first appearance has disrupted our communion with God, with others and with creation itself, to which we are linked in a particular way by our body. This rupture of communion with God likewise undermines our harmonious relationship with the environment in which we are called to live, so that the garden has become a wilderness (cf. Gen 3:17-18). Sin leads man to consider himself the god of creation, to see himself as its absolute master and to use it, not for the purpose willed by the Creator but for his own interests, to the detriment of other creatures.
Once God’s law, the law of love, is forsaken, then the law of the strong over the weak takes over. The sin that lurks in the human heart (cf. Mk 7:20-23) takes the shape of greed and unbridled pursuit of comfort, lack of concern for the good of others and even of oneself. It leads to the exploitation of creation, both persons and the environment, due to that insatiable covetousness which sees every desire as a right and sooner or later destroys all those in its grip.
3. The healing power of repentance and forgiveness
Creation urgently needs the revelation of the children of God, who have been made “a new creation”. For “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor 5:17). Indeed, by virtue of their being revealed, creation itself can celebrate a Pasch, opening itself to a new heaven and a new earth (cf. Rev 21:1). The path to Easter demands that we renew our faces and hearts as Christians through repentance, conversion and forgiveness, so as to live fully the abundant grace of the paschal mystery.
This “eager longing”, this expectation of all creation, will be fulfilled in the revelation of the children of God, that is, when Christians and all people enter decisively into the “travail” that conversion entails. All creation is called, with us, to go forth “from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom 8:21). Lent is a sacramental sign of this conversion. It invites Christians to embody the paschal mystery more deeply and concretely in their personal, family and social lives, above all by fasting, prayer and almsgiving.
Fasting, that is, learning to change our attitude towards others and all of creation, turning away from the temptation to “devour” everything to satisfy our voracity and being ready to suffer for love, which can fill the emptiness of our hearts. Prayer, which teaches us to abandon idolatry and the self-sufficiency of our ego, and to acknowledge our need of the Lord and his mercy. Almsgiving, whereby we escape from the insanity of hoarding everything for ourselves in the illusory belief that we can secure a future that does not belong to us. And thus to rediscover the joy of God’s plan for creation and for each of us, which is to love him, our brothers and sisters, and the entire world, and to find in this love our true happiness.
Dear brothers and sisters, the “lenten” period of forty days spent by the Son of God in the desert of creation had the goal of making it once more that garden of communion with God that it was before original sin (cf. Mk 1:12-13; Is 51:3). May our Lent this year be a journey along that same path, bringing the hope of Christ also to creation, so that it may be “set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom 8:21). Let us not allow this season of grace to pass in vain! Let us ask God to help us set out on a path of true conversion. Let us leave behind our selfishness and self-absorption, and turn to Jesus’ Pasch. Let us stand beside our brothers and sisters in need, sharing our spiritual and material goods with them. In this way, by concretely welcoming Christ’s victory over sin and death into our lives, we will also radiate its transforming power to all of creation.
From the Vatican, 4 October 2018
Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi

Francis
FULL TEXT Share from Vatican.va - Official Translation - 
(Image source Shared from Google Images)

#BreakingNews Democrats in US allow Infanticide by Blocking Bill to provide Treatment for Babies Born Alive after Abortion

Senate Democrats on Tues., Feb. 26, 2019, blocked a request by Republicans to vote on a bill that would stop infanticide and provide medical care and treatment for babies who are born alive after botched abortions.

The Senate voted 53-44 against ending the filibuster and allowing a debate and vote on the bill itself. Every Republican present voted to end the filibuster, along with Democrats Joe Manchin, Bob Casey and Doug Jones, while all other Democrats voted against the bill.

Every Democrat senator running for president — Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand and Bernie Sanders — voted to block the anti-infanticide bill.

Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska said:

“I know a lot of opponents of this bill sincerely believe the talking points that they read from their staffs. We’ve heard speech after speech after speech that have nothing to do with what’s actually in this bill,” he said. “I urge my colleagues to picture a baby that’s already been born, that’s outside the womb gasping for air. That’s the only thing that today’s vote is actually about. We’re talking about babies that have already been born. Nothing in this bill touches abortion access.”

Leading pro-life senators explained:

“At a bare minimum, every one of us should be able to agree that infanticide, or the killing of a baby after it has been born alive, is unacceptable. This is a separate issue from abortion, which is abhorrent in itself,” said Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota.

Senator Steve Daines of Montana added: 
“We are not here to debate abortion. That is not what this bill is about . . . We are here today to decide whether or not it should be legal in the U.S. to kill or neglect an infant who has been born alive after a botched abortion.”

Senator Joni Ernst agreed, saying, “All my colleagues across the aisle are saying this about abortion, this is about a mother’s health care. That’s absolutely incorrect. We are talking about a human life.”


Leading pro-life groups condemned the 44 Democrats who blocked the anti-infanticide bill.

“Today we saw the extremism of the abortion industry’s agenda on full display,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, in an email to LifeNews. “The 44 members of the United States Senate who voted against this bill now need to explain to their constituents why they believe abortion is such an absolute ‘right’ that it protects what amounts to infanticide: willfully withholding life-saving care from a born-alive infant.”


Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins called Sen. Ben Sasse’s Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act“the bare minimum standard for valuing infant life, as everyone should be able to look at a baby born during an abortion and understand that a humane response is required.”


This is the second time Senate Democrats have blocked the bill to stop infanticide.


The blocking of a vote on a bill to stop infanticide come even as national polling shows Americans — including people who are “pro-choice” on abortion — oppose abortion up to birth and infanticide. And doctors indicate abortions are never needed to protect a woman’s health and women admit having abortions on healthy babies.
Edited and shortened from LifeNews.com
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Cardinal Pell Convicted by Australian Court awaits Appeal - Removed from Public Ministry by Vatican




Cardinal Pell convicted by Australian Court
The Prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy has been found guilty of child sexual abuse. The verdict was handed down on December 11th, but the Melbourne Court had issued an order prohibiting the publication of information concerning the trial. The Cardinal continues to plead innocent, and his lawyer plans to appeal.
By Jean Charles Putzolu and Roberto Piermarini

Cardinal George Pell, 77, Prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy since 2014, has been found guilty of sexually assaulting two children under the age of sixteen when he was Archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990’s.

He was appointed to Melbourne in 1996, and transferred to Sydney in 2001. Two years later, he was created Cardinal. Pope Francis invited him to join the Council of Cardinals, the body that assists the Pope in the reform of the Roman Curia, in 2013. George Pell left Sydney, Australia, where he had been Archbishop since 2001, and moved to Rome.

Royal Australian Commission
In 2014 he was called for the first time to testify before the Royal Australian Commission that investigates sexual abuse. Between December 2015 and February 2016, he faced further accusations of protecting other priests from abuse committed against children in the 1970’s. He replied to the Australian Commission by video conference from Rome on 29 February 2016, and denied being aware of the events in his home Diocese of Ballarat.

In October 2016, the Cardinal was questioned by Australian lawyers in Rome, this time on charges of paedophilia in his former diocese of Melbourne. At the end of June 2017, he was formally accused of sexual violence against a minor. The Ballarat police authorities then provided only partial information and reported several complaints, without giving further details.

Called to appear before a court on July 26th, Cardinal Pell left the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy in order to defend himself. He has always claimed that the charges against him are unfounded and that he considers sexual abuse a "horrible crime".

Protection of Minors
The Cardinal has constantly condemned abuses committed against minors as “immoral and intolerable”. He supported the creation by Pope Francis of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors in Rome, and when he was a Bishop in Australia, he established procedures to protect minors and provide assistance to victims.

George Pell was the subject of a separate trial regarding other allegations of misconduct, but the charges were withdrawn on the basis of insufficient evidence. The Court had imposed a media blackout in order to avoid influencing the legal proceedings in progress.

Guilty verdict
The unanimous guilty verdict was handed down by 12 jury members at the County Court of Victoria, Australia, after more than two days of deliberation. The verdict was decided on December 11th but only made public today. Sentencing hearings will begin tomorrow. Meanwhile, the Cardinal continues to plead innocent and his lawyer plans to appeal.

Australian Bishops’ Conference reaction
The President of the Australian Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Mark Coleridge, has issued a statement in the name of the Conference, that reads as follows:

“The news of Cardinal George Pell’s conviction on historical child sexual abuse charges has shocked many across Australia and around the world, including the Catholic Bishops of Australia. The Bishops agree that everyone should be equal under the law, and we respect the Australian legal system. The same legal system that delivered the verdict will consider the appeal that the Cardinal’s legal team has lodged. Our hope, at all times, is that through this process, justice will be served. In the meantime, we pray for all those who have been abused and their loved ones, and we commit ourselves anew to doing everything possible to ensure that the Church is a safe place for all, especially the young and the vulnerable.”

Father Zollner: we await the outcome of the appeal
On the case regarding Cardinal Pell, Federico Piana of Radio Vaticana Italia spoke to Father Hans Zollner, member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and president of the Center for the Protection of Children established at the Pontifical Gregorian University.

A. The process has been quite troubling from what I have heard from a distance... Then there are some things even within the Australian judicial system that for us Europeans are really strange. For example: for months it was known that he had been found guilty, but without the possibility of talking about it and knowing the reasons for it. Now we know, he has been convicted. Now he will appeal, of course, and then let's see what comes out. In any case, any person regardless of role or position if he has committed a crime must be punished. I am not a lawyer and I do not know this system which seems to me to be very complex... Now, we are at the first instance ‘first stage in the legal process’, the cardinal will appeal and then we will see what the outcome will be. We have already had the case of Archbishop [Philip] Wilson of Adelaide who in the first instance was convicted not of abuse, but of having ‘covered up' and in the second instance was acquitted... So let's see what will come out in this case.
FULL TEXT Release from Vatican News va
**********Vatican Statement on Removal from Public Ministry 
Please find the full text of the statement below.
 “The Holy See agrees with the statement issued by the President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference regarding the sentence of guilt in the first instance concerning Cardinal George Pell. This is painful news that, as we are well aware, has shocked many people, not only in Australia. As already expressed on other occasions, we have the utmost respect for the Australian judicial authorities. Out of this respect, we await the outcome of the appeals process, recalling that Cardinal Pell maintains his innocence and has the right to defend himself until the last stage of appeal. While awaiting the definitive judgement, we unite ourselves with the Australian bishops in praying for all victims of abuse, and reaffirm our commitment to do everything possible so that the Church might be a safe home for all, especially for children and the most vulnerable. In order to ensure the course of justice, the Holy Father has confirmed the precautionary measures which had been imposed by the local Ordinary on Cardinal George Pell when he returned to Australia. That is, while awaiting the definitive assessment of the facts, as is the norm, Cardinal George Pell is prohibited from exercising public ministry and from having any voluntary contact whatsoever with minors.”
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Today's Mass Readings and Video : Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - #Eucharist


Tuesday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 342

Reading 1SIR 2:1-11

My son, when you come to serve the LORD,
stand in justice and fear,
prepare yourself for trials.
Be sincere of heart and steadfast,
incline your ear and receive the word of understanding,
undisturbed in time of adversity.
Wait on God, with patience, cling to him, forsake him not;
thus will you be wise in all your ways.
Accept whatever befalls you,
when sorrowful, be steadfast,
and in crushing misfortune be patient;
For in fire gold and silver are tested,
and worthy people in the crucible of humiliation.
Trust God and God will help you;
trust in him, and he will direct your way;
keep his fear and grow old therein.

You who fear the LORD, wait for his mercy,
turn not away lest you fall.
You who fear the LORD, trust him,
and your reward will not be lost.
You who fear the LORD, hope for good things,
for lasting joy and mercy.
You who fear the LORD, love him,
and your hearts will be enlightened.
Study the generations long past and understand;
has anyone hoped in the LORD and been disappointed?
Has anyone persevered in his commandments and been forsaken?
has anyone called upon him and been rebuffed?
Compassionate and merciful is the LORD;
he forgives sins, he saves in time of trouble
and he is a protector to all who seek him in truth.

Responsorial PsalmPS 37:3-4, 18-19, 27-28, 39-40

R. (see 5)  Commit your life to the Lord, and he will help you.
Trust in the LORD and do good,
that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security.
Take delight in the LORD,
and he will grant you your heart's requests.
R. Commit your life to the Lord, and he will help you.
The LORD watches over the lives of the wholehearted;
their inheritance lasts forever.
They are not put to shame in an evil time;
in days of famine they have plenty.
R. Commit your life to the Lord, and he will help you.
Turn from evil and do good,
that you may abide forever;
For the LORD loves what is right,
and forsakes not his faithful ones.
R. Commit your life to the Lord, and he will help you.
The salvation of the just is from the LORD;
he is their refuge in time of distress.
And the LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.
R. Commit your life to the Lord, and he will help you.

AlleluiaGAL 6:14

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
May I never boast except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 9:30-37

Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee,
but he did not wish anyone to know about it.
He was teaching his disciples and telling them,
"The Son of Man is to be handed over to men
and they will kill him,
and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise."
But they did not understand the saying,
and they were afraid to question him.

They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house,
he began to ask them,
"What were you arguing about on the way?"
But they remained silent.
For they had been discussing among themselves on the way
who was the greatest.

Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them,
"If anyone wishes to be first, 
he shall be the last of all and the servant of all."
Taking a child, he placed it in their midst, 
and putting his arms around it, he said to them,
"Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me;
and whoever receives me,
receives not me but the One who sent me."