Today the Voice of the Word frees his father’s voice which was lost through disbelief, and he reveals the blessed posterity of the Church by loosing his mother’s bond of barrenness. The Lamp preceding the Light appears; the star proclaims the coming of the Sun of Justice who is the restoration of all and the salvation of our souls.
When the time approached for the Word of God to be born from a Virgin, a messenger came forth from a barren womb.
He is the greatest born of woman and the greatest of the prophets. Behold, the beginnings of God’s actions are beyond our understanding. You were begotten eternally and conceived without seed; you work wonders for our salvation. Glory to you!
Today the great Forerunner appears, born from the barren womb of Elizabeth. He is a prophet greater than all prophets;
there is no other like him, nor has there ever been. For the most wondrous Light followed the lamp of the Forerunner;
the Word followed the Voice, and the Bridegroom followed the bridegroom’s friend. He prepares a special people for the Lord,
cleansing them with water until the coming of the Spirit. He is the offspring of Zechariah and the noble dweller of the desert,
the preacher of repentance, and the purification of sins. He announced the good news of the Resurrection from the dead to those in Hades, and he prays for our souls.
O John, the Baptizer of Christ, you manifested yourself to be a prophet and forerunner from the time you were in the womb.
When you saw the queen coming to her servant, you leaped for joy in the womb of your mother, you, the one conceived of a barren woman, according to the promise made to the elder Zechariah. You knew she was bearing the eternal One who was from the Father without a mother. Now implore God to have mercy on our souls.
Zechariah did not believe the word of the angel who told that Elizabeth would conceive and bear a son. Instead he replied: How can she give birth, for we are both advanced in years. He was made silent by your decree because of his disbelief. Today he sees the promised birth, and his silence is ended to give way to joy. O, what a glorious marvel! He shouts aloud: Blessed is the Lord, the God of Israel, for He has turned to his people and brought them salvation. He grants great mercy to the world.
O, most praiseworthy John and universal apostle, good news of Gabriel and flower of the barren woman, noble child of the desert, true friend of the bridegroom Christ, pray to Him to have mercy on our souls.
Today, like a shining star, the Lamp prepares the way for the coming of the Word of God. Today Zechariah speaks clearly, ending the silence imposed by the angel, for it was not right that the father of the Voice be kept silent once John was born from a barren womb. He comes to announce with great boldness the good news of salvation for all the world.
Elizabeth carried the Forerunner of grace, and the Virgin carried the Lord of glory. When the mothers greeted each other, the infant leaped for joy, for even within the womb, the servant praised the Master. The mother of the Forerunner was amazed and sang out: How have I deserved that the mother of my Lord has come to me? Glory to Him who with great mercy saves a despairing people.