Last November 24, the Chapel of the Archbishop of Milan pullulated with people. So many faithful, Milanese and others, gathered there to witness the celebration of the closing of the diocesan process of beatification of the youth, Servant of God, Carlo Acutis.
The boy’s parents were present, and many childhood friends, but also people who only knew his reputation for sanctity. A boy enthusiastic of life, dynamic and of infectious joy, an example of Christian charity, he matured a special devotion to the Eucharist, which he called “my highway to Heaven.”
He passed away at 15 in October of 2006, of a galloping leukemia: from his hospital bed he offered his sufferings to the Lord for the Pope and for the Church A tangible legacy are his Exhibitions, which in his 15 years of life he created and realized, to reinforce the faith and spread worship of the Eucharist.
ZENIT spoke about this special boy, who constantly attracts new followers, with Cardinal Angelo Scola, Archbishop of Milan, who followed over these years the diocesan process of beatification and who presided over the celebration on November 24.
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ZENIT: Eminence, during the works of the diocesan phase of Carlo Acutis’ beatification, did some aspect emerge of this boy that struck you in particular?
Cardinal Scola: I would say three things especially: his cordiality to all, from doormen of buildings of his neighborhood to individuals that frequented his family of high social standing; the solidity of his convictions, which he upheld at school among his companions; the passion with which he did everything, I am thinking of computer science, which fascinated him.
ZENIT: What is the characteristic of the Christian message of Carlo Acutis, a contemporary youth, common to many of his contemporaries?
Cardinal Scola: I think it was the conviction – very strong in Carlo – that without having great ideals for which to live, life is dull and, in the end, monotonous. And the highest, most fascinating ideal, also because it is the truest, which gives uncontainable joy of living, is the Gospel, is the Lord Jesus, who was a true Friend for him.
ZENIT: The Eucharist is my highway to Heaven.” What is the teaching of this phrase spoken by Carlo Acutis?
Cardinal Scola: Carlo found in the Eucharist the answer to all his questions, to his desire, which is in fact that of every adolescent and every youth, to live for something great, which would respond to his thirst for the infinite and would indicate to him how to act in his concrete life and give him the strength to do so — the Eucharist as proposal of love to be able to love.
ZENIT: How can one explain the very lively interest of a young boy, immersed in today’s society, in his relation with the Eucharist?
Cardinal Scola: It’s difficult to respond: it would be necessary to enter in the secret of Carlo’s heart, in his intimate dialogue with God. Perhaps Carlo is the evident proof that God is still – also today! – capable of knocking at the heart of a youth. If one, like Carlo, has the courage to entrust oneself, he also draws others.
ZENIT: Do you perceive that in the Christian community of Milan, where Carlo Acutis lived, the bond to this boy is strong?
Cardinal Scola: The quantity of people that participated in the celebration for the closing of the diocesan inquiry for his beatification was a surprise for me. And together with the resonance he had and has in the Oratories, not a few are meditating on his figure and choosing to be named after him.
ZENIT: Carlos Acutis also left a concrete legacy: the exhibitions on Eucharistic miracles, on Marian apparitions, on angels and demons, as well as on Paradise, Purgatory and Hell. How important is it to second this intuition of his, setting up his exhibitions in dioceses and parishes?
Cardinal Scola: I think it is useful to offer youngsters in the Oratories and adults in the parishes and also in environments such as schools, universities and neighborhoods, especially the Exhibition on the Eucharistic miracles, the whole prepared by him. The Exhibition attests to a youth who was not content with hearsay Christianity. He sought “proofs” of his faith and wanted to offer them first of all to his contemporaries, to “give reason” for the faith that animated him.
On the NET:
Official Site of Carlo Acutis (English Version): http://www.carloacutis.com/