Monday 5 April 2021

Blessed Carlo Acutis 5 Steps to Being a Saint - Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo - CTS Biographies

Blessed Carlo Acutis
5 Steps to Being a Saint
CTS Biographies
Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781784696528
eISBN 9781784696726
CTS Booklet B776

A few years ago, I stumbled across the books and booklets from the Catholic Truth Society quite by accident. I was researching an author I had run across, and was trying to track down all of her works. Soon I had a long list of books from the CTS on my Wishlist, and it seems that for everyone I read I end up with 1 or 2 more on my wish list. At the writing of this review I have read over 175 titles from the CTS over the last 3 years and currently have over 200 either in my ‘to be read’ pile or on my wish list still. I have read many in the CTS Biographies and also Saints of the Isles Series, and the Great Saints Series. Carlo Acutis is one of only two beati, Blesseds, who was born after I was. The other is Chiara Badano. Both are on their way to sainthood. I have encountered the name Carlo Acutis many times and was familiar with his story. The description of this booklet is:

“A beautiful new life of Carlo Acutis the IT enthusiast who died at just 15 years old but lived his life for Christ. The author introduces us to the five simple practices which helped to make Blessed Carlo Acutis the first Millennial Blessed. Richly illustrated with photographs of Blessed Carlo and with a great selection of his sayings this is an ideal introduction to a wonderful life. 

“We make a choice in life: God or nothing. Blessed Carlo Acutis chose God – “Not I, but God” – in five simple practices. The Mass, Adoration, Confession and spiritual guidance, befriending the Blessed Mother and the saints, and charity. These daily “appointments” led Carlo to a life of intimacy with Jesus and love for neighbour ” – Cardinal Sarah.”

In the preface Bishop of Assisi Domenico Sorrentino states:

“I thank Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo for this truly beautiful, agile, and inspiring book. It is historically well documented. It is theologically profound. Here he offers us not only a biographical profile, but a “road map” of holiness in the footsteps of Carlo. We are not all called to the charismatic choices of Francis of Assisi, but we can all follow the simple way of Carlo. It takes nothing away of what makes life beautiful, but everything hinges on Jesus, in particular on the Eucharist, the “highway to heaven.””

And that is what you will find in this volume. A wonderful biography. And a plan with steps to help you grow in your own holiness. Matthew Kelly likes to use the phrase “Become the best version of yourself” because when he challenged people to become ‘saints’ they said they could not do that. But they would work at becoming the best version of themselves. Carlo challenged the people he knew, those early years of online evangelization. And he challenges us today. Further on in that preface it states:

“Carlo Acutis is an invitation. An invitation addressed to everyone, especially the young, not to waste life, but rather to make of it a masterpiece. Only God makes us capable of this. “Not I, but God”: this is the winning formula of the young Blessed. The only formula – to quote his own words – that makes us “original,” and not “photocopies.””

Pick up this book and give it a read. And be challenged. The chapters in the book are:

Opening Reflections
The Beginnings: Normal and Holy
Carlo’s Way to Sanctity: Five Simple Practices
Carlo’s Witness to the End and Beyond
Closing Reflections
Sayings of Blessed Carlo Acutis
Prayer to Blessed Carlo Acutis

After the preface is a photo of a young Carlo with the quote:

“You, too, can be a saint. But you need to want it with your whole heart, and, if you do not yet desire it, ask the Lord for it with insistence.”

And the beginning of the opening reflection states:

“How remarkable it is that, from such a young age, the desire of Carlo Acutis for himself and others was that we become saints! His short yet intense life of just fifteen years, spanning two centuries and crossing the threshold of the second millennium, shows how he fulfilled this desire for himself, and how he has provided a road map to holiness in our times for us all and for young people especially.”

We are shown how Carlo’s love for God, mary and the ssaints drew his own family and later others deeper in their faith:

“In past times, it was the parents who transmitted the faith to their children, as per the promises made in Baptism, but, in the Acutis family, the opposite occurred. His mother, moved by Carlo’s evident love and interest, spoke to a faith-filled, elderly friend for advice, who pointed her to a holy priest in Bologna, Father Ilio Carrai. He told Antonia to begin studying theology, which she did at the theological faculty in Milan, largely at the weekends when she was able to.”

Yes from a young age he has a passion for the tings of God. But it was also something he worked at and strived for.

“Finally, we need a road map. The life and witness of Blessed Carlo Acutis show us the way: “Always to be united with Jesus, this is my programme of life.” To live with Jesus, for Jesus and in Jesus is the simple and achievable roadmap that he sets out for us in five practices.”

The book then goes on to list and outline the practice of that fivefold path. Towards the end of the closing reflections is that same quote from the first picture of Carlo. This is then followed by a series of Carlo’s sayings. And a prayer.

This is a wonderful book. It will encourage and challenge any reader. I cannot wait to reread it with my own children. It was one of three new volumes from the Catholic Truth Society in February of 2021. They are all excellent. But as a father of four this was a very touching and moving read.

Another great read from the Catholic Truth Society, and excellent volume in the CTS Biographies Series.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by and about Carlo Acutis:

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