First off, Fabian should not to be confused with his namesake, the 50's and 60's pop star and though St. Sebastian is probably the better known of the martyr saints for this day, I say, hats off to Fabian. Not many of us are hand-picked by the Spirit to lead the Church, but this unknown individual who wandered into the fray after Pope Anteros died in 236 received such an honor.
As Eusebius attests, a dove came along and chose him out of the crowd and he was proclaimed as "worthy." Which also boded well for the Church, because Phillip became emperor and proclaimed tolerance of Christianity and Christians which briefly allowed for stability in the Church and its practices. This only lasted as long as Phillip did and when he died and Decius ascended the throne, persecution redoubled and Fabian was martyred - that is just how lucky he was.
While this story comes to us from some time later, we are reminded of the words of Scripture:
"Consider your own calling, brothers. Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might boast before God." (1 Corinthians 1:26-29)
It is said that Fabian, after the death of Anteros, came from the country along with others and stayed at Rome, where he came to the office in a most miraculous manner, thanks to the divine and heavenly grace. For when the brethren were all assembled for the purpose of appointing him who should succeed to the episcopate, and very many notable and distinguished persons were in the thoughts of many, Fabian, who was there, came into nobody’s mind. But all of a sudden, they relate, a dove flew down from above and settled on his head as clear imitation of the descent of the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove upon the Savior; whereupon the whole people, as if moved by one divine inspiration, with all eagerness and with one soul cried out “worthy,” and without more ado took him and placed him on the episcopal throne.
-- Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 6
Things to Think About