By Elena Dini
ROME — The first millennial to be beatified teaches young and old alike how to approach the Christmas Mystery with great simplicity and openness of heart, and bring it to life in one’s own personal story.
Blessed Carlo Acutis, beatified this past October, was well-known for his deep, engaged and all-encompassing faith.
And just as Mary — who accompanies God’s people during the Advent season — embraced God’s call in her life as a young person, Blessed Carlo, too, was able to give his fiat at a young age to God’s will in his life.
The young man used every opportunity he could to proclaim the Good News among his friends, the needy on the streets, and on the internet. In this current time of pandemic, when many people are living a good part of their life online, Blessed Carlo demonstrates how one’s daily online activities can be a path to holiness.
An IT enthusiast, he dedicated his creativity and skills to the service of God, by desiging websites and creating online exhibits, such as on eucharistic miracles. His source of strength was the Eucharist. He attended Mass daily and would often pause in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. He died in 2006 at the age of 15.
“The Eucharist is my highway to heaven,” he would say.
Cardinal Agostino Vallini, pontifical legate for the Basilicas of St. Francis and St. Mary of the Angels in Assisi, gave the homily at Blessed Carlo’s beatification, which took place at the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi.
“A life full of light, completely offered to others, as the eucharistic bread,” the cardinal said in his homily. “His burning desire was to attract as many people as possible to Jesus by proclaiming the Gospel, first of all through the example of his life.”
His testimony, with the freshness of his youth, demonstrates that sanctity “is a goal that we can all reach, it’s not something abstract and reserved for the few,” said Cardinal Vallini.
Pope Francis also wrote of Blessed Carlo’s example in his 2019 apostolic exhortation “Christus Vivit.”
“Carlo was well aware that the whole apparatus of communications, advertising and social networking can be used to lull us, to make us addicted to consumerism and buying the latest thing on the market, obsessed with our free time, caught up in negativity,” he wrote (105). “Yet he knew how to use the new communications technology to transmit the Gospel, to communicate values and beauty.”
Pope Francis also included a quote from Blessed Carlo: “Everyone is born as an original, but many people end up dying as photocopies” (CV 106).
The Catholic teenager was not afraid of being original; his heart was open wide and he was not blocked by a hard or fast mindset. He knew the road to holiness was offered to each person, but that his road would be unique: it would put his talents to work, allowing the Holy Spirit to mold him, so that he could bear the fruit that only he could bear.
In the great simplicity and ordinariness that we find among holy people, which Pope Francis writes about in his 2018 apostolic exhortation “Gaudete et Exsultate,” Blessed Carlo becomes a travel companion on the way to Bethlehem this Advent.