Saint Alban’s Sunday and Corpus Christi Sunday

We have a double feast day today-Corpus Christi, the institution of the Holy Eucharist by Our Lord Christ, and the feast day of Saint Alban the Martyr, who is the Patron Saint of the worldwide Liberal Catholic Church. Saint Alban is pictured on the left side of the Altar here at Saint Francis. (The paintings on the Altar were done by a former Deacon of this church, Walter Krusch. If you ever go to our Liberal Catholic Church in Huizen, Holland, you will see the original pieces of art, in stained glass.)

In researching the life of Saint Alban, I mostly found that very little was known about him. (Perhaps this is true of many of the saints?) First I will paint for you what seems to be the brief but factual picture. In Butler’s Lives of the Saints, he states that “In art, Saint Alban is represented sometimes in civil, and sometimes in military dress, bearing the palm and sword, or a cross and a sword.” Well, in our picture, he seems dressed in somewhat of a Roman military garb, and he does indeed hold a sword. The Oxford Dictionary of the Saints says, “Alban’s cult extended all over England and in parts of France influenced by Germanus. Nine ancient English churches were dedicated to him.”

Alban was martyred in England in 304. All the books agree that he was a Roman soldier, called a pagan by those who recognize only their own religion as valid. Thomas Morgan in the book Saints says that he was the first person martyred in Britain. At the time of these persecutions Alban, a Roman, had sheltered in his house a Christian priest. All the sources seem to agree that Alban was impressed by this cleric, and that he became baptized into the Christian faith. When his former Christian-hounding colleagues came to search his house for the priest, Alban donned the priest’s cloak and presented himself to the soldiers, refusing to let them take the priest, who escaped. Alban himself was taken away.

When brought before the magistrate and asked to make a sacrifice to the Roman gods, Alban, now Christianized, refused. He was ordered to be put to death by his fellow soldiers. Perhaps it is by now legend that has it that one of them refused to participate and confessed to being a Christian on the spot. The other apparently beheaded both of them, but it is said that his eyes fell out as a consequence. One book said that later artists loved to depict this! The former city of Verulam became Saint Albans, and many healings have been attributed to the spring that came forth, supposedly at this time, and at the shrine built there.

Well, if this were another church, my talk about Our Patron Saint Alban would perhaps end here, my having given about all the information I could find about him. But this is the Liberal Catholic Church, and we have other realms to explore. Reincarnation, as most of you may know, is not a foreign concept here. And Bishop C. W. Leadbeater, one of our most prolific early writers, was a clairvoyant who sometimes traced the various lives lived by a particular soul. Certainly, I cannot speak from experience, but I understand that, to one trained in how and where to look, the path that a particular soul follows in its evolution toward divinity is something that can be followed.

Bishop Leadbeater in The Hidden Side of Christian Festivals takes us further along that path, following some more lives of the soul who was once known as Alban. He tells us he was next born in Constantinople in 411 as Proclus, one of the last great exponents of Neoplatonism. He was born in 1211 as Roger Bacon, the Franciscan friar who invented gunpowder in the West. In 1375 he was born as Christian Rosenkreutz, founder of the Rosicrucians. In 1561 he was born as Francis Bacon, the scholar who reconstituted the English language. In the 1600s he took birth as Ivan Rakoczy, the prince of Transylvania, and he was the Comte de Saint Germain at the time of the French revolution.

Leadbeater, in speaking of this great soul, says: “He is the Prince Adept at the head of the Seventh Ray. Naturally he is deeply interested both in the work of the Church and in Freemasonry, in reality two expressions of the same eternal truth. We have much for which to thank him now in this present day, as well as for those earlier achievements of his, the magnificent gift of the English language, the introduction of Freemasonry into England, and the moulding of Christian medieval metaphysical and philosophical thought.”

Now, on to Corpus Christi.

One of the two possible Gospels for Corpus Christi is full of what to the casual observer might be thought of as strange words, and since today we read the Gospel for Saint Alban’s Sunday, I’ll quote briefly from Saint John’s Gospel here:

The bread that I give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them: Amen, amen, I say unto you: Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life.

The bread and wine (or the grape juice that is used in the Liberal Catholic Church) at the moment of the consecration, when the priest says "This is my body" and "This is my blood," are transformed by Christ’s power into His very essence on the inner planes. Yes, to our physical eyes they look the same as before the Words of Power were spoken, but on the higher realms of existence, had we but the ability to perceive them clairvoyantly, they are of the same nature as Our Lord Christ, veritable Suns raying forth His light and power from the Altar. And when we partake of Holy Communion, we take this holy food into our selves, where it works its benign magic and helps transform our cruder natures into a nature more like His own divine one.

The change is subtle. It takes a very long time, for most of us, but eventually it does work its white magic upon us, and little by little we become better people here in the material, outer world, here where it matters. We can be highly developed spiritually, but unless we bring this goodness out here, to our daily workaday lives, it really does “profit us nothing.” Because here in the physical world is where we currently are, and it is here that our assignment is-to leave it a better place and ourselves a better person than they were when we arrived.

For example, I hope that I have picked up enough trash to compensate for that which I tossed heedlessly in my childhood years. My mother taught me to always leave an apartment cleaner than it was when I moved in, and I have tried to do that in all my years when I was a renter. And that lesson stays with me yet. There are many ways in which we can leave the world in a better place than it was before.

So, when you partake of Holy Communion (and we hope that you will-no one is denied this sacrament in the Liberal Catholic Church), when you partake, try to consciously envision Our Lord becoming a very personal part of yourself, entering your heart, uplifting and ennobling you. In so doing, you may carry His blessing for a longer period of time through to the outer world when you walk out of our doors.

And now to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, three Persons in one God, be ascribed all honour, might, majesty, power and dominion, now and for evermore.


Judie A. C. Cilcain

June 22, 2003

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