We often hear about the saints as if they were something of the past, or as thought holiness were some kind of unreachable goal. Is that true? Of course not! There are so many saints—young people like you—who gave all they had to the Lord to show us that holiness is indeed possible for each and every one of us.
One of these young saints is Blessed Carlo Acutis, recently beatified on the 10th October in Assisi. His love for the Catholic Faith and his witness to the demands of Christ’s love are an example for us of how we can overcome mediocrity, selfishness, and sin with Christ’s grace. Just like Carlo, we too can become “light” and “salt” in a world that desperately needs to re-discover Jesus Christ, the One who loves us and calls us to great things.
Carlo Acutis was born in London, England in 1991 into a traditional Catholic, Italian family that did not have a strong faith. He loved football, actions films, Pokémon, and every kind of animal. Yet ever since he was young, his first love was always Our Lord in the Eucharist.
From an early age, he expressed a great desire to receive the Eucharist. After an intense catechetical instruction, his teacher managed to have him interviewed by Archbishop Pasquale Macchi, who confirmed that Carlo was sufficiently instructed and mature enough to receive his First Holy Communion at the age of seven.
From that moment on, Carlo took what he called the “highway to Heaven” and never strayed from the path. He began to receive Communion daily and spent a lot of time adoring the Lord in the Eucharist. “If we get in front of the sun, we get sun tans, but when we get in front of Jesus in the Eucharist, we become Saints.” When he was asked how he could manage to pray before the Blessed Sacrament for so long, he answered, “I don’t speak with works. I just lie against His chest like St. John at the Last Supper.”
Carlo lived daily Mass with great devotion because he knew and believed what the Catholic Church teaches about the Eucharist. During Mass, when the priest says the words of consecration, the bread and wine offered really become the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus. Carlo experienced this mysterious presence of Christ in the Eucharist above all as a gift.
In 2002, Carlo went to a congress with his parents where they participated in a presentation on the Eucharist. After that experience, Carlo came up with a great idea: to make an exhibition about Eucharistic miracles. He believed that if people knew that Jesus was truly present in the Eucharist, they would turn to God. Since Carlo had a special interest in computers and was considered a “computer genius,” he used his gifts and talents to develop a website that would serve the Lord. He gathered together content, reports, and writings about the Eucharist miracles throughout the world and made a website that still be accessed today: http://www.miracolieucaristici.org/en/Liste/list.html
Carlo not only had great devotion to the Eucharist, but he also had a deep love for the Blessed Mother. He committed to praying the Rosary every day. He also realised how important it was to always be in a state of grace, so he decided to go to Confession every week. All these things became for him his own “kit to holiness,” something he stuck to and never abandoned.
Thanks to Carlo’s perseverance in the faith and his insistence on never passing by a Church without going in to “say hello to Jesus,” his family also grew close to God. Because of his example, his family felt obliged to accompany Carlo in studying about the faith, and this eventually led to his own parents’ conversion.
“Carlo always had a sense that he couldn’t waste time,” his mother said. He hated to be enslaved by anything, and so even though he loved computer games, he limited the time he spent playing them to only one hour a week. The rest of his time he spent doing good works and helping children who were unhappy at home, defending the disabled, visiting the elderly, and serving the poor. After he was confirmed at the age of eleven, he also decided to become a catechist. He was well loved and popular at school and was committed to living the virtue of purity in such a way that others were challenged by his example. He also defended his Catholic faith and his pro-life views fearlessly in class.
When he was fifteen, Carlo began to have intense headaches. At first, his mother did not give it much importance since it was flu season and she thought he simply had symptoms like his other classmates. However, as the pain grew more intense, she decided to bring him to a nearby hospital. While there, it was discovered that Carlo had acute promyelocytic (or M3) leukemia, the most aggressive form of leukemia that exists. He told his mother, “I would like to leave this hospital, but I know I will not do so alive. I will give you signs, though, that I am with God.” He immediately decided to offer all his sufferings for the Pope, the Church, and his own direct entry into Heaven. He wanted to avoid Purgatory (the place in which God prepares the soul for heaven) and go straight to heaven, if this was God’s will. He died shortly after on October 12. On his deathbed he expressed peace and interior joy. “I am happy to die,” he said, “because I have lived my life without wasting a minute on those things which do not please God.”
Blessed Carlo Acutis’ short but extraordinary life was daily nourished by the Eucharist, devotion to the Blessed Mother, and frequent confession. Because of his deep and intimate friendship with our Lord, he walked firmly towards his goal: Heaven. His “kit to holiness” was the secret to his personal peace, joy, and strength, and a light for those who knew him.
Carlo used to say, “We are all born original, but many die as photocopies.” He discovered the meaning of his life through a deep relationship with Our Lord, and although his earthly life was brief, it reached its plenitude thanks to his generous “yes” to God’s grace. He always lived “with Jesus, for Jesus, and in Jesus.”
This was his life plan: “To always be close to Jesus.” Let us learn from Blessed Carlo Acutis’ life and example and also take on his “kit to holiness” so as to never stray from the highway that will lead us directly to Heaven.
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