The Eternal "What If" of Abortion.

[Selections from Matins.]

The Second Class Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary; and, the Commemoration of Saints Processus & Martinian, Martyrs.

Lessons from the proper, according to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite:

• Canticles 2: 8-14.
"Benedicta et venerábilis es …"*
• Luke 1: 37-47.

The Thirteenth Thursday of Ordinary Time.

Lessons from the primary feria, according to the ordinary form of the Roman Rite:

• Genesis 22: 1-19.
• Psalm 115: 1-6, 8-9.
• Matthew 9: 1-8.

The Fifth Thursday after Pentecost; and, the Feast of the Deposition of the Venerable Robes of Our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos, at Blachernæ.

First & third lessons from the pentecostarion, second & fourth lessons from the menaion, according to the Ruthenian recension of the Byzantine Rite:

• I Corinthians 3: 18-23.
• Hebrews 9: 1-7.
• Matthew 13: 36-43.
• Luke 10: 38-42; 11: 27-28.

11:26 AM 7/2/2015 —

[Translation of the hymn Quen terra, Pontus, sídera ….]

Mary carried in her womb the Ruler of the world's threefold fabric—Him that earth, sea and sky reverence, adore and praise.
     The Maiden's womb was filled with grace from heaven and received as its burden Him whose will the moon, the sun and all creation obey, each at its appointed time.
     How favored this Mother was in her office; for in her womb, as if in the ark, was enclosed the Creator from heaven, who hold the world in the hollow of His hand.
     The Angel declared her blessed, the Holy Spirit made her womb fruitful, and from it came forth the Desired of the peoples.
     Glory be to You, Jesus, born of the Virgin; and glory be to the Father and the loving Spirit, through endless ages. Amen.

Lesson iv.
A Sermon of Saint John Chrysostom.
At Metaphrastes in the month of July.

When the Redeemer of our race had come to us, He hastened to His friend John, while John was still in his mother's womb. Breaking the barriers of nature between one womb and the other, John saw Him and cried out, “I see the Lord who imposed the limits on nature, and I need not wait for the time of my birth. The period of nine months is not necessary for me; He who is eternal is within me. I will go out of this dark tabernacle, I will preach my quickly acquired knowledge of these wonderful things. I am a sign, and I will signify the coming of Christ. I am a trumpet, and I will proclaim the dispensation of the Son of God in the flesh. I will sound the trumpet; with it I will bless my father's tongue and loose it so that he may speak. I will sound the trumpet, and will vivify my mother's womb.”

Lesson v.

You see, my friend, how new and wonderful is this mystery. He is not yet born, and he speaks by leaping. He has not yet appeared, and he gives warnings. He is not yet allowed to cry out, and he is heard by his actions. He has not yet been born to life, and he proclaims God. He has not yet seen the light, and he points out the Sun. He has not yet been brought forth and he hastens to be a precursor. For he cannot endure to be silent in the presence of the Lord; he cannot bear to await the times of nature, but strives to break the prison of the womb, eager to proclaim the coming of the Savior. “He who loosens the bonds has come,” he says. “Then why do I sit bound, way am I forced to remain here? The Word has come to establish all things. Shall I stay in captivity? I will go forth, I will run ahead and proclaim to all, 'Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!'”

Lesson vi.

But tell us, John, when you are still shut up in the dark womb of you mother, how do you see and hear? How do you contemplate divine things? How do you leap and exult? “A great mystery,” he says, “is taking place—actions that are beyond human comprehension. It is only right that I make innovations in nature to acknowledge Him who is going to renovate the supernatural. I see, although I am still in the womb, because I see the Sun of Justice being carried in a womb. I hear, because the purpose of my birth is to make me the voice of the great Word. I cry out, because I see the maker of all things taking on the form of a man. I leap, because I am thinking of the Redeemer of the world having become incarnate. I am the precursor of His coming, and by these actions I am the first, in a way, to acknowledge Him.”

Lesson vii.
A Homily of Saint Ambrose, Bishop.
Book 2 of Commentary on Luke, ch. 1, near the beginning.

We should reflect upon the fact that the superior comes to the inferior, to help the inferior: Mary to Elizabeth, Christ to John. Later on, too, the Lord came to be baptized that He might sanctify John's baptism. And quickly were the coming of Mary and the blessings of the divine presence made known. Notice the precision of the propriety of each word. Elizabeth was the first to hear Mary's voice, but John the first to perceive grace. She heard in the natural order; he leaped because of the mystery. She perceived Mary's coming; he, the coming of the Lord. The mothers spoke of grace; the infants caused grace to operate within their mothers; the were beginning the mystery of the Redemption in the meeting of their mothers. And through a twofold miracle the mothers prophesied by the spirit of their children. The infant leaped, the mother was filled. The mother was not filled before the son; rather, when the son was filled with the Holy Spirit, he filled his mother also.

Lesson viii.

"And how have I deserved that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?" That is, how did such a great good befall me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me? I perceive the miracle, I recognize the mystery: the Mother of the Lord is pregnant with the Word, she is filled with God. "And Mary remained with her for three months and returned to her own house." It is good that both points are brought out: Mary performed this service, and she observed the mystical number.

Lesson ix.

Besides the loving service that Mary rendered to her cousin, there was another reason for her staying that long: the advantage which her visit afforded to the great Prophet. For, if her very greeting brought such blessings at the beginning of her visit—the infant leaping for joy in the womb and his mother being filled with the Holy Spirit—we can readily surmise how much more benefit must have accrued from Mary's continued presence for so long a time. It meant that the Prophet was being anointed and trained like a good athlete in his mother's womb; for his strength was being built up for an uncompromising struggle.

* In place of the psalm: "Blessed and vererable art thou, O Virgin Mary: who without blemish to thy maidenhood, wert found to be the Mother of the Savior. O Virgin, Mother of God, He whom the whole world cannot contain, enclosed Himself in thy womb and became man."