Highway to Heaven

By Joel Padgett


As the parish phase of our National Eucharistic Revival is well underway, I want to take some time to reflect upon the lives of a couple of the patron saints of the Revival. In this article, I’ll focus on Blessed Carlo Acutis. I’ll dedicate a future article to St. Manuel Gonzalez Garcia.

Blessed Carlo Acutis was an Italian teenager who passed away from leukemia in 2006 at the age of 15. If you recall the Eucharistic miracle exhibits that traveled around our diocese last year, he is the one who designed each of the panels. Since I touched on Blessed Carlo Acutis’ life in a previous article, I won’t delve into it again here; but I do want to point out a couple of details that help to illuminate his holiness.

Carlo’s family was Catholic, but not especially devout. However, from a young age, Carlo had a great love for Our Lord, especially in the Eucharist. It was he who was the real instigator in finding a way to get to Mass every day and in convincing his parents to go with him. He loved the rosary, and he went to confession weekly. At the same time, he was, for all appearances, a very ordinary boy. In fact, he was buried in his jeans and a pair of Nikes. He loved computer programming, and he also loved playing video games (although he intentionally limited himself to only playing an hour a week). In other words, Carlo teaches us that it’s possible for an ordinary young person to be a saint in today’s world!

Another aspect that I find quite inspiring involves what Carlo’s illness and death reveal about him. He was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia on Oct. 8, and he passed away four days later on Oct. 12, having offered his sufferings for the Lord, the Pope and the Church. When he fell ill on Oct. 2, it was thought at first that it was merely an ordinary flu. His funeral, Oct. 14, was so full that many people had to remain outside of the Church. Carlo did not have a long, drawn-out illness, and his passing came less than a week after his diagnosis. This tells us that Blessed Carlo Acutis’ holiness was primarily lived out in the ordinary circumstances of his life, well before he became sick.

So just how did he live his life? I think I’ll let him tell you himself. Here are a few quotes of his that do just that. I’ll hold off on my own reflections, so as to let them speak for themselves. However, I would encourage you to pray over them, and to ask yourself in prayer if your attitudes and desires line up with his. If they don’t, the point isn’t to become discouraged, but to ask God for those desires. As Blessed Carlo himself states, “The only thing we have to ask God for in prayer, is the desire to be holy.” Since he is one of the patrons of the Eucharistic Revival, I’ve primarily chosen some of his quotes on the Eucharist:

  • “The Eucharist is my highway to heaven.”
  • “By standing before the Eucharistic Christ, we become holy.”
  • “The more often we receive the Eucharist, the more we will become like Jesus, so that on this earth we will have a foretaste of heaven.”
  • “Not me, but God.”
  • “Always be united with Jesus: that is my life’s program.”
  • “Our soul is like a hot-air balloon…. If by chance there is a mortal sin, the soul falls to the ground. Confession is like the fire underneath the balloon enabling the soul to rise again… It is important to go to confession often.”
  • “Sadness is looking at ourselves; happiness is looking towards God.”
  • “I am happy to die, because I have lived my life without wasting a minute on those things which do not please God.”