The Kalendar for today commemorates the first of the English saints, named Alban. He was a Roman Briton who was martyred there sometime in the third or very early fourth century. Alban, although not a Christian, concealed in his home a Christian priest who was being sought by the authorities. Alban was so impressed by the piety of his guest that he became a convert to Christianity. When Roman soldiers came to his home to arrest the priest, Alban wrapped himself in the man’s cloak and told the soldiers that he was one they sought. Alban’s arrest and trial allowed the priest to escape.
There are not many other details in Alban’s story, and various accounts of his life differ. We know that his courage and self-giving love were widely admired soon after his death. Many churches were named for him, not only in England but on the Continent. What we can say today is that in our present times of danger and fear Alban’s example stands for us as a model of love that risks everything for the well being of others—God’s self-giving love shared with others through the faith and commitment of a convert.
Blessed Alban, pray with us and for us as we confront fear and danger in and around us today. Lend us your courage to make right choices now, choosing on behalf of others, as you did so long ago.
The Rev. Charles Hoffacker is a retired priest of the Diocese of Washington