The life of Blessed Carlo Acutis reveals five steps to being a saint: the Mass, Adoration, Confession and spiritual guidance, befriending the Blessed Mother and the saints, and charity. This blog explores the first step: the Mass.
Carlo strove to participate in Mass every day. With smiling confidence, he declared, “You go straight to heaven if you participate in the Mass every day.”
The reason was simple. The foundation for holiness is a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus. “The more we receive the Eucharist, the more we will become like Jesus, so that on this earth we will have a foretaste of heaven.” For Carlo, this relationship was nurtured most especially by his belief in the Real Presence of the Lord in the Eucharist: “Jesus is really present in the world, just as when, in the time of the Apostles, the disciples could see him in flesh and blood walking the streets of Jerusalem.” So zealous was Carlo in making known to others the importance of the Eucharist for growing in intimacy with Jesus that he dedicated his computer skills to sharing knowledge of the Real Presence. From the age of eleven, he researched the eucharistic miracles in seventeen countries throughout the world, visiting many of the places where they occurred and cataloguing them on the internet. The website he built comprises 160 pages or “panels”. He also created exhibitions of eucharistic miracles that have made the rounds of more than ten thousand parishes worldwide, with exhibitions on all five continents, and in non-Catholic countries such as Russia and China, at Marian shrines such as Fatima and Guadalupe, and in over a hundred universities in the United States alone. Carlo was a missionary through the internet, such that he is already being called its heavenly patron.
The first practice in becoming a saint is frequent reception of Jesus in the Eucharist. This is what Carlo’s brief but intense life teaches us. By receiving Jesus in the Eucharist, we are given divine and eternal life within us. So, for Carlo, the centre and heart of his entire life was to meet Jesus in daily Mass. After receiving his First Holy Communion at the age of seven, his attachment to the Eucharist grew continuously. If he could not receive it for some serious reason, such as sickness, he would do so through spiritual communion. This was a deepening relationship with the best and most faithful of friends. If the family travelled, the first place that Carlo would look for was the nearest church and its Mass times. He was so utterly convinced of the importance of the Mass that, after making his First Holy Communion, he was insistent that his family consecrate itself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which it did. His reason is as simple as it is profound: “The Eucharist is truly the Heart of Jesus.” He could not understand why sports stadiums were full of people and churches were empty. He repeatedly said, “They have to see, they have to understand.”
While taking part in daily Mass he was fully conscious that “with the fruits of the daily Eucharist, souls sanctify themselves in an excellent way and are strengthened
especially in dangerous situations that could harm their eternal salvation.” The privileged moment to ask the Lord for graces was at the moment of Consecration:
Who can intercede for us more than a God, who offers himself to God? During the Consecration, we need to ask graces of God the Father through the merits of his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, through his holy wounds, his most precious Blood, and the tears and sorrows of the Virgin Mary, who as his Mother can intercede for us more than anyone else can.
Carlo’s simple prayer after receiving communion reveals again how deeply he believed in the divine indwelling of Jesus as a friend: “Jesus, come right in! Make yourself at home!” He was comforted reflecting on the final words left by Jesus as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew: “I will be with you always until the end of time” (Mt 28:20). To realise that Carlo was thinking such thoughts, uttering such words and with such intimacy as a young boy is truly astonishing.
A key to understanding Carlo’s eucharistic spirituality was his devotion to St John, the beloved disciple of Jesus. At the Last Supper, the young St John leans on the breast of Jesus. He receives the priesthood from Christ with the power to renew the sacrifice of the Cross in the Eucharist: “Do this in memory of me” (Lk 22:19). Carlo’s commentary on the beloved disciple reveals the invitation and his freedom to accept it, as well as the invitation and freedom of us all:
It’s fantastic – like St John, all are called to become beloved disciples. All we need is to become eucharistic souls, adoring souls, allowing God to work those wonders in us, which only he can do. But he wants our will to submit freely. God does not like forcing anyone. He desires our freely-given love.
This blog is extracted from Blessed Carlo Acutis: Five Steps to Being a Saint, a beautiful new life of Carlo Acutis the IT enthusiast who died at just 15 years old but lived his life for Christ. Richly illustrated with photographs of Blessed Carlo and with a great selection of his sayings this is an ideal introduction to a wonderful life.