BOOK REVIEW by Allan Wright
God wants the same thing from each of us: friendship with him. But the ways there are endless
The author of Carlo Acutis: The First Millennial Saint is Nicola Gori, a writer and the postulator of Acutis’ cause; thus, he was able to include firsthand information central to Acutis’ life and glean stories from others who knew Acutis and had contact with him.
For this heroic and saintly young man, holiness was a simple way of life. “Holiness is not a process of adding anything, but of subtraction. It is a removal of myself to make room for God,” Acutis said.
In addition to offering a brief account of his life, there are sections on the theology of the Eucharist and on eucharistic miracles, Acutis’ favorite saints and issues that were significant to him.
While some of these are peripheral to Acutis’ life as told in the biography, they were important to him and thus provide a portrait of this young man as he interacted with others in a world that is often hostile to holiness.
His parents recall that a few days before he was admitted to the hospital, while they were keeping vigil at his bedside, they heard Acutis say: “I offer all the sufferings that I will have to undergo to the Lord for the pope and the church, so that I can avoid purgatory and go straight to heaven.”
He is indeed a saint for our times and will especially resonate with young people …”
The book contains many incidents in Acutis’ life that reflect his abiding faith in Jesus and the church. He is indeed a saint for our times and will especially resonate with young people as Acutis enjoyed sports, video games, being with his parents and finding a particular joy and peace in the rosary, Mass and exploring the lives of the saints.
The preface and introduction take up nearly half the book but provide quotes from Pope Francis and others explaining some basic tenets of Catholic spirituality, which will benefit most readers who are unfamiliar with the process of beatification.
Highly recommended for confirmation-age students, for it shows an otherwise ordinary teenager living the faith with beauty, simplicity and trust.
Carlo Acutis: The First Millennial Saint by Nicola Gori. Our Sunday Visitor (Huntington, Indiana, 2021). 143 pp.
Allan Wright is principal of Koinonia Academy in Plainfield, New Jersey.