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Millennials and geeks can be saints too

Blessed Carlo Acutis inspires young Catholics in the digital age

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Millennials and geeks can be saints too

Carlo Acutis was gifted in computer skills and used them to glorify God. (Photo: YouTube)

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The beatification of Blessed Carlo Acutis on Oct. 10 was recognition by the Catholic Church of the sanctification of human work in the world of media and the internet.

The Italian teenager was gifted in computer skills and used them to glorify God in website creation and editing publications for the propagation of the faith.

He was named a “cyber-apostle” of the Eucharist for creating virtual exhibitions on topics on faith, particularly Eucharistic miracles around the world.

“Carlo was very gifted with everything related to the world of computers so that both his friends and others with computer engineering degrees considered him a genius,” said Italian Cardinal Angelo Comastri in an interview.

Some may think Carlo, who died in 2006 aged 15 from leukemia, is too young to be venerated by churchgoers in the Catholic faith. Yet there have been many young saints in the Catholic Church. Some were even younger than Carlo.

Jesuit Saints Stanislaus Kostka and John Berchmans 22, joined the ranks of holy men and women of the Catholic Church at a young age.

Kostka, 17, entered the Jesuit novitiate after suffering severe maltreatment by his brother. Later on, his brother described him as someone who “devoted himself so complete to spiritual things.”

Berchmans, 22, was a Jesuit scholastic who took as his spiritual model his fellow Jesuit Saint Aloysius Gonzaga in terms of valuing the ordinariness of things. He was trained to find God in all things. He believed that holiness may be achieved even in ordinary things in life.

Like Saints Kostka and Berchmans, Blessed Carlo Acutis exemplified holiness in the ordinary life of a millennial — those who were born after 1980 and up until the early 2000s.

Millennials are known for their adeptness with computers and digital technology, a trait that manifested itself with Carlo Acutis.

With the internet a source of many sinful things such as pornography and materialism, Carlo showed it was also a place for holiness — an avenue of expression of one’s supreme love for God and his Church.

After receiving his First Communion at the age of seven, Carlo devoted his life to loving the Eucharist, which he said was his “road to heaven.”

It was said that he never missed going to Mass after that. He also prayed the rosary every day as part of his devotion to the Blessed Mother. He also conducted catechism classes to poor children in his parish.

“Our goal must be the infinite and not the finite. The infinity is our homeland. We are always expected in heaven,” Carlo once said to his parents.

He also became famous for using “originals” and “photocopies” to describe human death and resurrection.

“All people are born originals but many die as photocopies. To move towards this goal [to be with Christ in heaven] is to die not as mere photocopies but use the Word of God as a moral compass to heaven,” he said.

Carlo Acutis, indeed, used technology as his ticket to heaven. He placed the Mass at the center of his earthly life.

“He showed that faith does not distance us from life but rather deeply immerses us in it, indicating for us the concrete path to live the joy of the Gospel. It’s up to us to follow him, attracted by the fascinating experience of Blessed Carlo, so that our lives can shine with light and hope,” said Cardinal Agostino Vallini, Pope Francis’ representative at Carlo’s beatification ceremony.

Cardinal Vallini also said that Carlo’s life bore much fruit despite him being so young.

“He was an ordinary boy, simple, spontaneous, likable … He loved nature and animals, he played football, he had many friends, he was attracted to modern means of social communication, passionate about computer science and he built websites to transmit the Gospel, to communicate values and beauty,” Cardinal Vallini said in his homily.

Carlo Acutis has taught the young generation that one needs not be a priest or a monk to be a saint. He has taught that the extraordinary was possible, and through the ordinary — in our ordinary habits and skills — there God is.

And so, one must cultivate the discipline to seek God in all things, even in the most ordinary things that we do. Carlo Acutis, pray for us!

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