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Stumped?

Raise your hand if you knew it was Carlos Acutis, the new Blessed who wore blue Jeans and Nike. Currently, his relic is touring the United States as part of focus on Eucharistic Renewal.

Who is Carlos Acutis?

Born some 30 years ago, he died of leukemia in Milan on October 12, 2006, at the age of 15.

In many ways, he was very much like his peers. But in a most important way, he was different: He had a tremendous love for the Eucharist, His passion was Jesus Christ.

On October 10, 2020, Carlos became the first millennial to be named “Blessed,” the last step before being proclaimed a Saint.

He loved PlayStation, a first for anyone canonized or beatified. In Assisi, his body is seen dressed in jeans and Nike sneakers. Not quite the image most of us have of the saints.

From age 11 devoted his spare time to designing a still online exhibition about Eucharistic Miracles around the world. He also cataloged the apparitions of Our Lady and designed websites for local clergy.

However, his middle school record states: “Acutis disturbs the class and doesn’t have his homework” … “Acutis clowns around.”

Why is Carlos proposed as a model?

He is presented as a role model for youth, a “saint of the ordinary,” and also a possible patron saint for IT workers. See the Youtube video of his life.

But Acutis also worried about those friends of his whose parents were divorcing and so he would invite those friends to his home to support them. He defended the rights of the disabled, especially at school when bullies mocked them. He loved traveling, especially to Assisi.

He contracted leukemia and offered his pain for both Pope Benedict XVI and for the Universal Church. “I offer all the suffering I will have to suffer for the Lord, for the Pope, and the Church.”

Carlos had asked his parents to take him on pilgrimages to the sites of all the known Eucharistic miracles in the world. His worsening health prevented this.

He used the media to evangelize and proclaim the Gospel and aimed to do this with the website that he had created. He also liked film and comic editing.

As he was dying, the doctor treating him asked him if he was suffering much pain. He responded that “there are people who suffer much more than me.” 

A question about photocopies

 One of Acutis’ favorite sayings: “Everyone is born original, but too many die as photocopies.”

He had a flair for memorable phrases of less than 180 characters. “To always be close to Jesus, that’s my life plan.”

A millennial, learning Carlo’s story recently said, “Carlo puts flesh on what a saint who plays video games and goes on the internet looks like. He challenges me to examine my conscience and say, ‘Ok, I’m called to be a saint who uses the internet too. Am I using it to make God’s love known?’”

“Dare to be more!” Pope Francis told young people in his Post-Synodal Exhortation Christus Vivit (“Christ is alive!”).

Carlos illustrated the most famous saying of that “secular saint” of the internet, Marshall McLuhan. “The medium is the message” Carlos Acutis’ life was the medium and the message! He is a reminder to each of us that we, too, are the medium and the message. Come to think of it, Jesus was both medium and message!

Carlos dared to be different!

PS At his beatification, Carlo’s parents processed in with a relic of their son’s heart.

Could his example speak to you or someone you know?

  • Am I using the Internet for good?
A Blessed who wore blue jeans

Click below for an audio version of this Vincentian Mindwalk.

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