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Beatification of Carlo Acutis: ‘To Heaven Without a Net’

First ‘Influencer of God’

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The Beatification of Carlo Acutis, a young Italian who died in 2006 offering all his sufferings for the Church and for the Pope, took place in Assisi on October 10, 2020.

Here is a translation of an article by Isabel Orellana on the Church’s new Blessed.

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Carlo Acutis, a contemporary of ours, was 15 when he gave his soul to God, having left to the world a backpack full of blessings obtained by his daily surrender. Prayer, the Eucharist, love of the Virgin . . . and profound eagerness to take the faith through the Internet — the instrument he had at hand, working with it intelligently and ably. He achieved his objective, moving innumerable people, who no doubt were unaware of the existence of Eucharistic miracles, as well as many who knew about them. For good reason, he is called the “first influencer of God” and “cyber-apostle of the Eucharist.” He, who put the simile of the balloon that to ascend must let go of all burdens, just as we must do with “our venial sins,” went up to Heaven without a net. He had thrown himself into the bottomless void of divine love as a child and now nothing and no one could stop him.

Of Milanese parents, well-positioned professionally, he was born in London on the day of the Holy Cross, May 3, 1991. A few months later, his parents took him to Milan where he would spend the rest of his short life. He was handsome, diligent in his studies, an alert boy and, in appearance, like all others, although his acts of generosity to the weak and homeless already gave away that something great was beating in him.

Although his parents were non-practicing Catholics, they had him baptized and did not object to his receiving his First Communion and Confirmation. He studied in religious schools and was initiated in the truth of the faith through his Polish nanny. Later, a domestic employee in his home converted due to his witness. To his habit of entering any church that was at hand, he added the pious practices common to those of a holy life. His companions, his friends appreciated his worth, and his dear ones, including his mother, were affected by his example and got used to seeing Carlo’s singularity as something natural. Perceived in his gestures and words was the exceptionality of someone who, though being in the world, lived with his eyes fixed on Heaven. They are those “next door saints” that appear shining when they go to the bosom of our Heavenly Father.

He had been adorned with divine wisdom. He regarded the Eucharist as his “Highway to Heaven” and, the Rosary, as the shortest ladder to ascent to it, and the “most powerful weapon” after the Eucharist, to fight against the devil. He believed that “our aim should be the infinite, not the finite because the former is “our homeland. Heaven is always waiting for us.” He loved the Church profoundly, which he defended without hesitation. With great lucidity, he was aware of the uniqueness of a person. “We are all born as originals, but many die as photocopies.” He knew that an ordinary life can become extraordinary if we put God at the center.  The sole “program” of his life was to be united to Jesus; hence he counseled:  “Find God and you will find the meaning of your life.” In his life, there was no woman other than the Virgin Mary. And he was very sure that the “only thing we must really fear is sin.” These and other thoughts, which are being revealed these days, reflect a whole theology.

On October 11, 2005, an aggressive leukemia was extinguishing his life. He knew that he would not come out of it alive, and showed it in a video, in all its crudeness, with serene joy. He offered himself in libation for the Pope and the Church, in order to avoid Purgatory and “be able to go straight to Heaven.” On October 12, the day of the Virgin of Pilar, his eyes closed to this world only to open in the Heaven he had dreamed about. All the good he had sowed began to germinate. On opening his tomb, his body was found to be incorrupt. He was beatified on October 10, 2020.

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester

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Isabel Orellana Vilches

Isabel Orellana Vilches Misionera idente. Doctora en Filosofía por la Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona con la tesis Realismo y progreso científico en la epistemología popperiana. Ha cursado estudios de teología en la Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca. Con amplia actividad docente desde 1986, ha publicado libros como: Realismo y progreso científico en la epistemología popperiana, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 1993; El evangelio habla a los jóvenes, Atenas, Madrid, 1997; Qué es... LA TOLERANCIA, Paulinas, Madrid, 1999; Pedagogía del dolor. Ensayo antropológico, Palabra, Madrid, 1999; En colaboración con Enrique Rivera de Ventosa (†) OFM. Cap. San Francisco de Asís y Fernando Rielo: Convergencias. Respuestas desde la fe a los interrogantes del hombre de hoy, Universidad Pontificia, Salamanca, 2001; La "mirada" del cine. Recursos didácticos del séptimo arte. Librería Cervantes, Salamanca, 2001; Paradojas de la convivencia, San Pablo, Madrid, 2002; En la Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja, Ecuador, ha publicado: La confianza. El arte de amar, 2002; Educar para la responsabilidad, 2003; Apuntes de ética en Karl R. Popper, 2003; De soledades y comunicación, 2005; Yo educo; tú respondes, 2008; Humanismo y fe en un crisol de culturas, 2008; Repensar lo cotidiano, 2008; Convivir: un constante desafío, 2009; La lógica del amor, 2010; El dolor del amor. Apuntes sobre la enfermedad y el dolor en relación con la virtud heroica, el martirio y la vida santa. Seminario Diocesano de Málaga, 2006 y Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja, Ecuador (2007). Cuenta con numerosas colaboraciones en obras colectivas, así como relatos, cuentos, fábula y novela juvenil, además de artículos de temática científica, pedagógica y espiritual, que viene publicando en distintas revistas nacionales e internacionales. En 2012 culminó el santoral Llamados a ser santos y poco más tarde Epopeyas de amor prologado por mons. Fernando Sebastián. Es la biógrafa oficial del fundador de su familia espiritual, autora de Fernando Rielo Pardal. Fundador de los Misioneros Identes, Desclée de Brouwer, Bilbao, 2009. Culmina la biografía completa. Tiene a su cargo el santoral de ZENIT desde noviembre de 2012.

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