When Elizabeth’s time for delivery arrived, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives, upon hearing that the Lord had extended his mercy to her, rejoiced with her. When they assembled for the circumcision of the child on the eighth day, they intended to name him after his father Zechariah. At this his mother intervened, saying, “No, he is to be called John.” …Then, using signs, they asked the father what he wished him to be called. He signaled for a writing tablet and wrote the words, “His name is John.” At that moment, his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he began to speak in praise of God…All who heard this stored these things up in their hearts, saying, “What will this child be?” and, “Was not the hand of the Lord upon him?” Luke 1:57-66
Many parents, whose hearts are filled with joy at the births of their children, wonder the same thing John the Baptist’s relatives wondered: “What will this child be?” Usually, though, it is hard to imagine. As a child grows, their talents and the things they find joy in usually begin to show. Carlo Acutis’s mother found a heart for the sacred in her son.
Carlo Acutis, born in London in May, 1991, was raised in Milan, Italy. As soon as he received his First Communion at the age of 7, his love for the Eucharist became apparent. He attended daily Mass and spent time in adoration either before or afterwards. Carlo made a point of going to Confession weekly. Saying the rosary each day, he entrusted himself to the Blessed Mother as well.
He developed a love for saints such as Dominic Savio, Tarcisius, Francis, and Bernadette. He imitated the saints by stopping bullying when he could, by watching out for the disabled, and by spreading good cheer wherever he went. Concerned about peers whose parents were divorcing, he invited them to his home to support them in their struggles.
Like many teens, Carlo love video games. When he got his first savings and would have loved to buy a new video game, he decided instead to buy a sleeping bag for a homeless man on the streets. He worked in soup kitchens and did whatever he could for the poor he found along his way.
As Carlo grew, his genius in computer technology began to be recognized by engineers and other adults who were astounded that he understood so much without a university education. He learned to code early, building software that would help many. He was considered a computer genius. He used his skills to spread the Gospel, even creating a database of Eucharistic miracles which has been seen around the world. Pope Francis praised him this way:
“Carlo was well-aware that the whole apparatus of communications, advertising and social networking can be used to lull us, to make us addicted to consumerism and buying the latest thing on the market, obsessed with our free time, caught up in negativity… Yet he knew how to use the new communications technology to transmit the Gospel, to communicate values and beauty.”
Carlo became ill with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in the summer of 2006 and died that same year at age 15. As he suffered in the hospital, Carlo said, “I offer to the Lord all the sufferings that I will have to undergo…” He did that, living faithfully every minute of his short life. He was beatified on October 10, 2020.
Carlo Acutis is our twenty-fifth Ornament of Grace.
Observing the Beautiful Ornaments
How do you use a particular talent or skill you have for the good of others?
What saints have you found that inspire you to love the Lord more and more?