In order to fly high up the hot-air balloon, the weights need to be dumped. In the same way, should a soul intend to rise up to Heaven, it needs to dump even its smallest sins. This is how a teenage boy from Milan expressed his feelings on the confession. This was the path that took him closer to the Eucharist. For him all this looked like a highway to Heaven – as it is worded in the opening of the movie “My highway to Heaven” about Carlo Acutis’ life. As he expressed it many times, the Eucharist is a straight and quick road, a real highway to Heaven.
A teenage catechist
Who was this smiling, nice boy, having been beatified this Saturday? What did Carlo Acutis, a friend of Jesus, give to his contemporaries? Carlo was born in London, in 1991. Not long after his birth his parents moved back to Milan. Since then his family has been members of the Santa Maria Segreta parish church community in Milan. Already as from his First Communion Carlo showed a deep, special devotion towards the Eucharist and to Virgin Mary. His strong and mature faith made him to give catechism class for children and teens already at his age of 14, furthermore he volunteered, especially in charity works for the homeless and the poor. He had barely passed the age of 15, when in 2006 he died after a brief battle with leukaemia.
Those, who might have known Carlo characterised him as a normal, average teenage boy, quite similar to the others of his age. But why was he told so, since he wasn’t alike at all: he was a fan of hiking, of playing football, loved spending lots of time with his friends and his dogs. At the same time, at his extremely young age he was interested in issues that most people might not ever reach, not even the wording itself throughout their entire lives: “Why am I in the world? Where do we come from? What shall I do for a better understanding of people?”
Bike and Rosary
Carlo Acutis was open minded, kind and a person of wide interests. He was riding his bike through the streets of Milan, with the inseparable Rosary in his hands. He used to talk a lot with the people in his neighbourhood. The Parish Church of Santa Maria Segreta played an extremely important role in his short life. At his very early age, it often happened that he asked his mother to go to the church and to pay a visit to Virgin Mary so as to bring a bunch of flowers to her. Even back then he showed an extreme interest for the divinity, Gospel and the Eucharist. He was able to talk about these issues to his contemporaries, the millennial generation in such a manner that many of them absolutely became enchanted by his spirituality.
Whenever his friends were asked to characterize Carlo, his charity, his loving-kindness and daily prayers were highlighted the most. His secret was nothing more than putting into practice Jesus’ teachings. This was materialised even in very simple everyday actions, like handing over his sandwich to the ones having nothing to eat. He was raised in prosperity, still he preferred putting away the stuffs, which all his contemporaries had desired for, so to be generous and spend his saved funds for charity purposes.
The choice is yours: Will you live as a photocopy or as an original?
Carlo Acutis loved and was able to listen and understand others. He had done a great deal to bring people closer to Jesus. He designed a catalogue on the Eucharistic miracles, the illustrated short stories of which toured around the world in the form of an exhibition. Having a passion for computers he soon became an information technology expert. He was 11 when he wrote a book on the topic. He was very much concerned and his internet savvy mind was full on how to use the internet and the devices of our time to make people realize the essential questions that matter in life. Using the millennial generation’s own language he designed a website on the Eucharist, thus he was very often nicknamed as the cyber-apostle of the social media. 14 years have already passed since his death, still his mother has been receiving messages from all the corners of the world, whereby the senders thank for the recognition, which a teenage boy has led them to. Carlo Acutis was passing his short-lived life amongst us as a happy, Catholic, 21 st century boy. As he worded the essence of his life:
“All people are born as originals and specials, but many die as photocopies.”
In other words, we are all gifted by God with the opportunity to get to know Him, to be with Him, and to go to Heaven. Carlo recognised that the chance, the power is there for everyone to experience all this through Jesus’ words, so to fulfil the unique, personal, divine plan.
On the 10 th October, two days prior to Carlo’s birth to Heaven on October 12, 2006 in Monza, he was beatified in one of his beloved spots, in Assisi.
Source and photos: gondola