Carlo Acutis and Alexia González
By Sr. Ana Mª Cabezuelo, S.H.M.
Holiness knows no age, nor is it measured in physical dimensions of height, weight, etc, but by the degree to which we allow Christ to transform us from within. Proof of this is the host of young men and women whose heroic lives have become an example of what it means to be Christian.
They were average children and teenagers: they played, laughed, loved, suffered… Everything in their lives had meaning, ever since they entered in profound contact with Christ and decided to follow Him no matter what the future might hold. They were weak, but finding their strength in the Holy Spirit, they did not hesitate in surrendering their lives to God. Nor did they fear that God might ask too much of them.
The causes for canonization of young saints have increased and there are now over 150 causes opened in the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The Church has recently offered two heroic lives as models for the faithful. In an audience held on July 5, 2018 with Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Pope Francis authorized the decree recognizing the heroic virtue of Servants of God Alexia González-Barros, whose life ended at the age of 14, and Carlo Acutis, who died at the age of 15. With this decree, the two teenagers have been declared Venerable, the last step to Beatification.
«Jesus, may I always do WHAT YOU WANT»
Alexia González-Barros y González
Alexia was born in Madrid on March 7, 1971 into a family that belonged to Opus Dei. She was the youngest of seven children, two of whom had passed away before her birth.
At the age of four she began attending the school «Jesus Maestro», run by the religious order of the Company of Saint Teresa of Jesus. She made her First Communion on May 8, 1979 in Rome, near the tomb of Saint Josemaría Escrivá, whom she esteemed with great devotion. The following year, during a papal audience at the Vatican, Pope John Paul II blessed her and gave her a kiss on the forehead.
Alexia was joyful and outgoing. Her parents, Francisco and Moncha, had been assiduous in raising her with human and Christian virtues. Thanks to their dedication as parents, Alexia grew up as a normal child, affectionate, full of life, capable of being a good friend. Above ll, she was a soul that had placed all her confidence in God’s Will.
At the age of thirteen, her faith, hope, and love for Christ were put to the test. Alexia proved herself an authentic Christian when Ewing’s sarcoma knocked on her door, soon leaving her paralyzed. She lived this time of Calvary with peace and joy. With uncommon maturity she not only accepted her illness, but she turned it into her spiritual treasure, offering her pain and suffering for the Church, the Pope, and for the many souls she held dear in her heart.
She had a very special relationship with her Guardian Angel, whom she named «Hugo». The spontaneous prayer she would often say before the Tabernacle was, «Jesus, may I always do what you want.» These were not simply beautiful words. She truly demonstrated the authenticity of this prayer in her everyday life, especially during her illness.
Every day, the hospital chaplain would bring her Holy Communion, offering her great solace. She once wrote a letter to her classmates, from her hospital bed, saying, «You may find it hard to believe, but God gives us the strength we need; He even gives me reasons to laugh a little.»
She passed away in Pamplona on December 15, 1985. Word of her holiness immediately spread across the country, and has continued to increase ever since. Her testimony has become a light for others, especially the sick and suffering. Bishop José Ignacio Munilla comments, «Alexia’s life shines much brighter than what we can imagine, especially in our time, with the increased practice of euthanasia and assisted suicide.»
Since 2004 her remains have been laid to rest in the Parish of St. Martin of Tours in Madrid, in an urn donated by 26 devotees from several different countries.
«My life plan is to ALWAYS BE UNITED TO JESUS.»
Carlo was born on May 3, 1991 in London (England), although his family was originally from Milan (Italy). No one can explain better than his mother, Antonia, who Carlo was and how great his Eucharistic devotion was: «My son, as a child, especially after his First Communion, never missed daily Mass and prayed the Rosary every day. He also spent time before the Blessed Sacrament in adoration.»
He never let one single day go by without attending Mass. Carlo was a normal boy, but his passion was Jesus Christ. At the age of eleven, he wrote, «The more Eucharist we receive, the more we will be like Jesus and be able to enjoy Heaven here on earth!»
erything relating to the Blessed Sacrament, especially Eucharistic miracles. His love for the Eucharist led him to create an exposition that would include all the Eucharistic miracles ever occurred worldwide. This exposition has already visited every continent: thousands of parishes, the most important Marian shrines in the world, and over 100 universities in the United States of America. The website that offers information on the exposition is: http://www.miracolieucaristici.org/.
He often reminded his friends that, « our goal should be Infinite, not finite. The Infinite is our Homeland. Heaven awaits us.»
He was also known for his quote: «All are born as originals, but many die as photocopies.» In order to reach the goal and not «die as photocopies,», Carlo explained how our compass should be the Word of God, whose light should guide our lives. However, in order to reach such a high place, we need very concrete instruments: prayer and the Sacraments. Carlo placed the Sacrament of the Eucharist at the center of his life, referring to it as «my highway to Heaven.».
At the age of 15, he was struck with an aggressive leukemia accompanied by excruciating pain. Yet, he was heard saying, «There are people who suffer much more than I do!» With great faith and supernatural courage, he offered – like Alexia – all his suffering for the Church and for the Pope.
In his final stages of leukemia, Carlo said, «I am happy to die because I have lived my life without wasting even a minute with things that are not pleasing to God.».
The “Apostle of the Eucharist on the Internet” passed away in Monza (Italy) on October 12, 2006. Even before knowing his diagnosis with cancer, he taped a video stating that when he died he wanted to be buried in Assisi, St. Francis’ hometown. His remains are there to this day.
Cardinal Angelo Comastri comments: «Carlo’s modern style goes perfectly hand in hand with his profound Eucharistic life and Marian devotion, making him a very special boy, loved and admired by all.».
Alexia and Carlo walked on the path that had been marked for them, their concrete way to holiness. In turn, we must also find ours, the path God marks for us. No matter what our path may be, we can all imitate the precedent left by Carlo: «My life plan is to always be united to Jesus.».
©HM Magazine; nº204 September-October 2018