Sermon from St. Augustine
We must here consider that the greater cometh unto the lesser, in order to help the lesser: Mary unto Elisabeth, Christ unto John. And again afterwards, that he might sanctify John's baptisms, the Lord came unto him to be baptized. And quickly were these blessings of Mary's coming, and of the divine presence, made manifest. Have regard here to the distinction made, and to the special weight of every word. Elisabeth was the first to hear the voice of Mary's salutation, but John was the first to receive the grace. She heard it by natural means, but he leaped by reason of the mystery. She hailed the coming of Mary, he that of the Lord. Mary and Elisabeth spake words full of grace, but Jesus and John worked unseen within, and did enter upon this mystery of godliness as their mothers met one another. And so by twin miracles the mothers prophesied from the spirit of their unborn offspring. The babe John leaped, and the mother was filled with the Holy Ghost. The mother was not filled before her son, but when the son was filled with the Holy Ghost, he filled his mother also.
And whence is this to me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me? That is to say, how cometh it to pass that so great a good should befall me, as that the Mother of my Lord should come to me? I feel the wonder, I acknowledge the mystery; the Mother of my Lord, pregnant with the Word, is full of God. And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house. It is meet to record how Mary shewed this kindness, and abode this mystic number of months. She tarried long, not only for friendship's sake, but also for the good of the great Prophet. For if the first coming of Mary so blessed him, that even as a babe in the womb he leapt for joy, and his mother was filled with the Holy Ghost, what blessedness must we not deem to have flowed upon him from so long neighbourhood of Mary? Thus was the Prophet anointed, and trained by exercise like a strong wrestler, in his mother's womb, for his sinews are being braced for a hard battle.
At what time Peter and Paul were kept in the Mamertine Prison at the foot of the Tarpeian Rock, two of the gaolers, named Processus and Martinian, along with other forty, were moved by the preaching and miracles of the Apostles to believe in Christ, and were baptized in a spring which suddenly brake forth out of the rock. These men let the Apostles depart if they willed it. But Paulinus, Prefect of the soldiers, when he heard what was come to pass, strove to turn away Processus and Martinian from their purpose. And when he found that he but wasted time, he ordered their faces to be bruised and their teeth to be broken with stones. Moreover, when he had had them led to the image of Jupiter, and they still boldly answered that they would not worship the gods, he caused them to be tormented on the rack, and white-hot plates of metal to be put to their flesh, and that they should be beaten with sticks. Whileas they were suffering all these things they were heard to say only this one word: Blessed be the Name of the Lord. They were afterwards cast into prison, and in a little while they were taken outside the city, and slain with the axe, upon the Aurelian Way. The Lady Lucina buried their bodies upon her own farm, upon the 2nd day of July, but they were afterwards brought into the City, and are buried in the Basilica of the Prince of the Apostles.