“To always be close to Jesus, that’s my life plan”. With these few words Carlo Acutis, the boy who died of leukaemia, outlines the distinguishing feature of his brief existence: to live with Jesus, for Jesus, and in Jesus. (…)“I’m happy to die because I’ve lived my life without wasting even a minute of it doing things that wouldn’t have pleased God”. Carlo also asks the same thing of us – to emulate the Gospel with our life, so that we can be a beacon lighting the way for others.
A teenager of our time like many others, going to school and seeing his friends, and an expert for his age in computers. His encounter with Jesus Christ fitted into all of this. Carlo Acutis is witness to the Resurrection, he places his trust in the Virgin Mary, lives a life of grace, and tells his contemporaries about his incredible experience with God.
He goes to Mass and takes Communion every day and passes hours in front of the Blessed Sacrament. His Christian development and experience bear witness to the truth in the words of Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Exhortation, Sacramentum Caritatis: “The Sacrifice of Mass and Eucharistic adoration corroborate, support and develop love for Jesus and willingness for ecclesiastic service”.
Carlo is also devoted to Our Lady, faithfully says his Rosary and dedicates his devotions to her as his beloved Mother.
In sociological terms this boy is the same as his school friends, and bears out the fact that the Gospel can also be experienced fully by an adolescent.
His brief existence, reaching out with the aim of encountering Jesus, was like a beacon lighting the way not only of anyone who met him on their path, but also of those people yet to know his story. I am more than confident that this first biography of Carlo Acutis by Nicola Gori, with its recognisable descriptive ability, will help today’s adolescents, who have so many issues and are so heavily influenced by the mass media, to reflect on their life and evangelic values as a way of fulfilment.
By looking at this adolescent as one of them and as someone who was captivated by the the love of Christ, which enabled him to experience pure joy, these teenagers will be in contact with an experience of life that doesn’t take anything away from the richness of their teenage years, but which actually makes them more valuable.
The evangelical testimony of Carlo doesn’t just provide inspiration for today’s adolescents, it also encourages priests and teachers to ask themselves about the validity of the teaching they provide for the teenagers in our parishes, and how to make this teaching effective and profound.
Carlo Acutis’ First Miracle
The beatification of Carlo Acutis took place Oct. 10, 2020 after a miracle attributed to his prayers and the grace of God.
In Brazil, a boy named Mattheus was healed from a serious birth defect called an annular pancreas after he and his mother asked Acutis to pray for his healing.
Mattheus was born in 2009 with a serious condition that caused him difficulty eating and serious abdominal pain. He was unable to keep any food in his stomach and vomited constantly. By the time Mattheus was nearly four years old, he weighed only 20 pounds, and lived on a vitamin and protein shake, one of the few things his body could tolerate. He was not expected to live long. His mother, Luciana Vianna, had spent years praying for his healing.
At the same time, a priest friend of the family, Fr. Marcelo Tenorio, learned online about the life of Carlo Acutis, and began praying for his beatification. In 2013 he obtained a relic from Carlo’s mother, and he invited Catholics to a Mass and prayer service in his parish, encouraging them to ask Acutis’ intercession for whatever healing they might need.
Mattheus’ mother heard about the prayer service. She decided she would ask Acutis to intercede for her son. In fact, in the days before the prayer service, Vianna made a novena for Acutis’ intercession, and explained to her son that they could ask Acutis to pray for his healing. On the day of the prayer service, she took Mattheus and other family members to the parish.
Fr. Nicola Gori, the priest responsible for promoting Acutis’ sainthood cause, told Italian media what happened next:
“On October 12, 2013, seven years after Carlo’s death, a child, affected by a congenital malformation (annular pancreas), when it was his turn to touch the picture of the future blessed, expressed a singular wish, like a prayer: ‘I wish I could stop vomiting so much.’ Healing began immediately, to the point that the physiology of the organ in question changed,” Fr. Gori said.
On the way home from the Mass, Mattheus told his mother that he was already cured. At home, he asked for French fries, rice, beans, and steak – the favorite foods of his brothers. He ate everything on his plate. He didn’t vomit. He ate normally the next day, and the next. Vianna took Mattheus to physicians, who were mystified by Mattheus’ healing.
The Church is awaiting notification of the 2nd verified miracle to move forward with Blessed Carlo Acutis’ canonization. Just as Fr. Marcelo Tenorio encouraged Catholics in Brazil to ask for Acutis’ intercession for whatever healing they might need, we invite you to do the same. Through the grace of God, may your prayers for intercession to Blessed Carlo be the 2nd miracle…….