Our last guest post by Gioavanni Napoli was so inspiring that I began studying the various Italian Saints. In doing so, I stumbled upon a young boy who is in the process of being beatified, named Carlo Acutis. Carlo first received the Eucharist at the age of 7 and continued to receive it each day of his life until his untimely passing. Born in 1991 and having left this earth all too soon in 2006 at the age of 15, Carlo spent his young life in Italy dedicated to Jesus by collating on his website each and every Church verified apparition of our Blessed Mother that occurred on this planet for over two millennia.
Such a task is immense and sets Carlo far apart from every other young adolescent. In his own words: “too many people are born unique and yet die carbon copies.” His unique devotion led to him harnessing his talents with computers to create an online tabulation of each Blessed Mother apparition or Apparizioni Madonna.
In reading through these “Apparizioni Madonna” that have been catalogued by young Carlo, there was one event that correlates to this Tuesday, February 13th 2018, which as the day before Ash Wednesday is referred to as “Shrove Tuesday.” The word “shrove” is a form of the English word “shrive,” which means to obtain absolution for one’s sins by confession. It has become customary for those observing Lent to indulge in the foods on this day that they will be giving up until Easter.
Amidst Carlo’s painstaking accounting of Mary’s apparitions was an introduction to a woman who was visited by the Blessed mother and Jesus on separate occasions in Milan, Italy. Sister Maria Pierina De Micheli (1890-1945) wore the habit of the Daughters of The Immaculate Conception. Sister Maria had been visited by the Virgin Mary on May 31st, 1938 where Our Lady presented her with a scapular telling her: “This scapular is a defensive arm, a shield of strength, a token of love and mercy that Jesus wants to give the world in these times of sensuality, and hate against God and the Church. They tighten the diabolic nets to rip faith from hearts, evil overflows…A divine remedy is necessary and it is the Holy Face of Jesus. Everyone who wears a scapular like this one and who visits the Holy Sacrament every Tuesday to make reparation for these offenses, receive His Holy Face during the Passion, and receive the Eucharist every day, will be fortified in their faith, ready to defend it and overcome every difficulty-internal and external. Besides this they will have a peaceful death, under the amiable watch of my Divine Son.”
On November 21st, 1938, Jesus presented himself to Maria, dripping in blood and with great sadness he told her: “Do you see how I suffer? Yet, I am understood by so few. There are so many ungrateful people apart from those who say to love me! I gave my heart as a delicate object of my great love for mankind and I give my face as the delicate object of my suffering for the sins of men: I want to be honored with a feast on the Tuesday of Lent, meaning the Tuesday that comes before Ash Wednesday a feast preceded by a Novena in which all the faithful make reparation with me, united in participation of my suffering…Every time you contemplate my Holy Face, I will pour my love into hearts, and through my Holy Face one will obtain the salvation of so many souls.”
Eventually, with the grace of God and steadfast obedience to Jesus, Sister Maria succeeded in distributing a medal with Jesus’ face as a replacement to the scapular with the same promises and favors granted to those in possession of it.
Such amazingly powerful accounts of the “Apparizioni Madonna” collected and disseminated by Carlo Acutis is a testament to the devotion and love of Christ that we should all emulate as Catholics.
In Italy, the dedication to the Tuesday preceding Lent (Ash Wednesday) is celebrated with great respect. In Italian it is called Martedi Grasso (Fat Tuesday). This is the main day of Carnival in Italy. In Molfetta, for example, a cross bearing Christ’s face is walked through the town at midnight symbolizing Jesus’ and Our Lady’s wishes of disseminating the scapular and Christ’s Holy face towards the absolution of sins and to bring mankind closer to Christ.
In our turbulent world with much more intensified examples of Our Lady’s acknowledgements to young Sister Maria, I write this post to evoke Jesus’ wish for us to receive penance and carry out our duties as Catholics, whether Italian or not.
Carlo Acutis is an amazing example of how we can harness the power of the Internet towards spreading the message of Christ’s love for mankind in a world where the internet is often corruptly misused. He dedicated his life to discovering ways that we can all reinforce our faith. I find it no coincidence that I discovered the page dedicated to his beatification as I believe his work will forever continue as long as we help share it.
Before the sacred journey of Lent for those of Catholic faith, I would like to leave you with the words spoken by young Carlo that echo what each of us should already know and if not, can always learn or relearn: “ Surely,” Carlo said, “the miracles accomplished by the Virgin Mary during her apparitions on earth can be of great help to increase the Faith of many people…How can they be ignored…the appeals that Our Lady gave us? And yet knowing our little Faith, in her maternal goodness, the Blessed Mother wanted to work countless numbers of miracles precisely to help us to believe, yet despite these amazing signs many, still today, remain so indifferent! Many people seek signs from Heaven to reinforce their Faith, but there are also many who unfortunately do not even seek them and if by chance they find them, intentionally ignore them because they are too preoccupied with worldly things.”
The following link will take you to a page where you can register to the Association for the cause of beatifying Carlo Acutis: http://www.carloacutis.com/en/association/associazione