Carlo Acutis - A Saint for Today's Teens
He is remembered by those who knew him for the enthusiasm with which he conveyed to others his love for God and the neighbour. At seven he did his First Communion and since then, every day, he has never missed the daily appointment with the Holy Mass, the Eucharistic Adoration and the Holy Rosary. The focus of Carlo’s spirituality was the daily encounter with the Lord in the Eucharist: he said It “was Jesus truly present in the world, as at the time of the Apostles the disciples could see him in flesh and bones walking on the streets of Jerusalem”. Carlo often repeated: “The Eucharist is my highway to Heaven!”. This is the summary of his spirituality and the core of his whole existence spent in friendship with God. Carlo was very fond of the Virgin of Pompeii, where he came dozens of times, accompanied by his parents, and where each time he renewed his act of consecration to Mary. He used to say: “The Madonna is the only woman of my life!”, and he never missed “the most loving appointment of the day”, which was for him the prayer of the Holy Rosary.
Some days before Carlo was led to the hospital, when no one suspected that he had leukaemia which in a few days brought him to the grave, he told his parents: “I offer all the suffering I will have to suffer to the Lord, for the Pope and the Church, for not to do Purgatory and go straight
into Heaven”. The heroicness with which he dealt with his illness and death convinced many people that really there was something special in him. When the doctor who followed him asked him if he suffered a lot, Carlo replied: “There are people who suffer much more than me”.
A continuous pilgrimage held a wake for his body. His funeral was attended by a crowd so immense that many were forced to remain outside the Church. The continuing testimonies, letters, stories, which still today arrive at the postulator of the Cause of Beatification, Dr. Francesca Consolini, appointed by the Curia of Milan, tell of an extraordinary young boy, blessed by grace, so much that the Archdiocese of Milan thought to propose him as a model for the young and to start the process in view of the introduction of the Cause of Beatification which, as you know, may begin 5 years after death. It results, in fact, that so many are those who ask the intercession and the aid of Carlo.
From the testimonies collected a few days after his death, one discovers that Carlo was completely dedicated to the welfare of the people he met. He helped everyone: non-Community immigrants, beggars, disabled persons, elderly people, children. He was worried about his friends whose parents were divorcing and invited them to his house to support them; in the classroom he always took the defences of those who had more difficulty to integrate. On more than one occasion he defended the disabled that were taken around by frivolous boys. With
great courage he defended the Christian values, even if this sometimes caused him misunderstandings. His professor of religion at the high school recalls that in a discussion
in the classroom Carlo was the only one to oppose abortion. He had a great view of all persons and was concerned about how many wasted the talents that God had given them. On more than one occasion he affirmed: “All are born with their own originality, but many die as photocopies”.
This intense spirituality did not prevent him from having a normal life, common to that of his peers. Everybody remained amazed by his ability to understand the secrets that informatics hides and which are normally accessible only to those who have completed specialized university
studies. Carlo’s interests ranged from computer programming to the assembly of films, the creation of websites, comics, of which he also cured the drafting and layout.
Nicola Gori, editor of the “L’Osservatore Romano”, has published the biography of Carlo Acutis in the book “Eucarestia - la mia autostrada per il cielo” (The Eucharist - my highway to heaven) (Edizioni San Paolo, 160 pp., 14 euros). The volume bearing the foreword by Father Michelangelo M. Tiribilli, OSB, Abbot General of the Benedictines of Monte Oliveto, is published in the series “Witnesses of our time”. Sold out in a few weeks, it is already at its fourth reprint.
* The author of this article, editor-in-chief of
Vatican Radio, has personally known Carlo,
having been for years a friend of his family.