Since All Saints Day is here, it’s really tempting from a modern perspective to think about the Saints’ examples as unattainable by current standards. As far as I know, going to Mass on Sundays won’t cost us our lives at the stake, or pulling out a bible won’t have us tortured. Yes, there are modern, twentieth-century saints out there, but who are they? One of the Popes? Nuns? Priests? Lay adults standing up to authoritarianism or war?
These questions bobbed in my head until my Instagram feed gave me the latest update from Rome. Carlo Acutis, a teenager, who was in high school at the time of his death, had just been attributed to a miraculous healing of a sick boy in Brazil. His segue to beatification? He reported Eucharistic miracles online. Not in the daily paper. Not on Marconi or Edison’s radio. ONLINE.
As a prospective journalism student, this rang twenty six sirens in my head. Is this the relatable saint I had been looking for ever since I was shown a VHS at First Communion Prep? There was only one way I could find out. Turns out, Acutis had much more in common with my generation than I thought. Born to middle class, semi-religious north Italian working parents, Acutis showed an early interest in the Roman Catholic faith. He requested to take his First Communion at age 7, showing deep devotion to the Blessed Sacrament ever since.
Glad to see that young people still embrace the faith, I dug a bit deeper, only to find an amazing detail: Blessed Carlo was technologically savvy. His main work consisted of reporting Eucharistic Miracles. Not 15-second dance videos, not video games (although he is the first Saint to own a PlayStation), Eucharistic Miracles. He curated his website (today in the hands of an association of his friends), traveling all over Europe, writing, taking pictures, all while juggling high school and an admirably stable prayer life. At only 15, he was diagnosed with M3 fulminant Leukemia, one of the biggest hurdles a teenager can face. His response? "I offer all the suffering I will have to undergo for the Lord, for Pope Benedict XVI, and the Church" He was welcomed into the Heavenly Realm on October 12, 2006.
So in short, I find inspiration in Blessed Carlo, for contributing directly to St. John Paul II’s New Evangelization. To think that this could as well be anyone in my generation, even me. I hold that this saint, with whom three years of our lives overlap, could not be a clearer example of the modern Christian communicator and journalist, and a message from God in Caps Lock: I HAVE NOT LEFT YOU ABANDONED.
Blessed Carlo Acutis, Pray for Us!
- Chris Benitez, Ignite Senior
Amazingly, Blessed Carlo Acutis' website "The Eucharistic Miracles of the World" is still available online. You can visit it here: www.miracolieucaristici.org/en/Liste/list.html