Today we honour the memory of Blessed John of Fiesole, better known to the world as the celebrated renaissance artist Fra Angelico – whose paintings continue to inspire feelings of religious devotion in those who see them. Blessed John served in several leadership positions within the Order, and Pope Eugenius IV approached him about serving as Archbishop of Florence. Blessed John declined that offer, preferring a simpler life. He died in 1455. Beatified in 1983.
My favourite English poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote “The sky is filled with stars invisible by day.” That’s very close to what is being described in today’s first reading. Faith is an invisible reality, and to possess it we need to go beyond the limits of our senses. So many of us tend to limit our faith because we can’t yet see, feel, or touch the promises God has for us. We confine God to doing only what is safe for us, and by doing so, we put him in a box.
It’s not always easy to live a faith-filled life, especially when the world is shouting in our ears. We are constantly bombarded with the message that this life is limited to what we can see. But when we quiet our hearts enough to hear God’s still, small voice, we discover that the exact opposite is true. Following the world leads to emptiness, but giving our hearts to God and trying our best to trust in him is the most liberating thing we can do.
We have the proof of this in God’s word to us today. We have the examples of Noah and Abraham, who hoped in God’s plan and were not disappointed. Above all, we can look to Our Lord as the prime example of faith. His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane reveals his complete abandonment to God: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Because Our Lord followed his Father’s will all the way to the Cross, he won our salvation and opened the way for us to live in confident faith.
We shouldn’t think that we are any different from Abraham, Abel, Enoch, or Noah. If we aim high in faith, then we will find the power to move mountains. God has so much in store for us. It may mean being stretched a bit; it may mean stepping out of our usual routines—but God wants to use us to reveal his power and love. We shouldn’t let fear or timidity keep us from our inheritance. We need only believe, step out in faith, and watch the miracles flow.