A Paradoxical Locus
A preschool teacher shares what she discovered about Carlo Acutis through her students
Sacred Heart Parish, in East Boston, hosted The Carlo Acutis’ Eucharistic Exhibition. At the grand opening of the exhibit, there was a video call with Carlo’s mom from Italy and a special night of children’s presentations. We accompanied each other as we learned to see what Carlo saw: through His miracles, Jesus holds our hands to help us walk with Him, especially when we most need Him, as we grow in our understanding and love for Him.
I first came to know Carlo a year ago, as a preschool teacher. Giulia, one of my students, had a father named Luca who became sick with Leukemia, and her family began praying to Carlo for his healing. At school we prayed as well, and it was a gift to witness three-year-old preschoolers lifting their hearts in their first prayer at school: Carlo Acutis, Pray for us. In order to limit the family’s outside interactions, Giulia then stopped attending school. We all missed Giulia. We prayed daily for her family and for her father to get better. And he did!
Now here at the parish, again through Carlo, I encountered the blessing of praying with our children. On a special night of presenting the exhibition, the children in our community worked in pairs to present the Eucharistic Miracle of the Exhibition which moved them most. Their re-telling of the miracles in their own words and with their own colorful decorations, was an inspiration to all.
We heard their tender and innocent responses and candid anecdotes as they tried to understand and relate themselves to these extraordinary stories: “I chose this miracle because the plague reminds me of COVID.” “This miracle reminds me of how God can be seen in the smallest things.” Seen through the eyes of children, like Carlo himself, Carlo’s message continues to reach us all and draw us together and closer to Christ.
A few days before, the exhibition started with a beautiful opening reception. We first learned from Deacon Jonas about the Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. We then heard Antonia, Carlos’s mother, talk to us live from Italy through a video-call. Antonia was a joy to hear! She told us the story of Carlo’s love for the Eucharist and how Carlo kept His Presence in his life always. What a pleasure it was to learn about the life of this normal yet remarkable teenager through the loving words of his mother. She tells us that he was not perfect, but he was disciplined and generous. Carlo found his love for Christ after receiving the Eucharist for the first time. His pure heart did not hesitate to follow Our Lord from that day on—receiving Him in the Eucharist daily, going to Confession weekly, and sharing His love with everyone he met.
Carlo’s was a living example of true discipleship, and through his Eucharistic Miracles Exhibition, he left us ways that we can still follow him. His International Exhibition meets the ‘modern’ mind. It documents the miracles that have happened throughout history all over the world, presented by country. Each panel is dedicated to one miracle described accurately in detail. Two of my favorites were about animals reverencing Jesus in the Eucharist—fish in Alboraya-Almacera and barn animals in Glotowo, Poland. I learned to see how creation even in its brokenness reveres Jesus alive in the Eucharist. All of the wonders from the exhibit worked together as testament of God’s helping hand through His Son in history. These stories help our faith; they teach us to see.
Carlo’s mom and dad grew in their Faith through their son, and so did I. As I heard my students ask Carlo to pray for Luca or as I saw the children of my parish and my own friends present on Carlo’s Eucharistic Miracles Exhibition, I was moved by the gift of this one Italian teenager. God’s plan is not always what we expect, but in History we see the signs that lead us to Eternity. Father Giussani taught us how to recognize and follow these signs together. We look for the “paradoxical locus” where the Mystery unexpectedly converges. When he describes “a paradoxical locus” I think of Jesus, coming to us again and again in the most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist. We can experience this at every Mass, and Bl. Carlo Acutis taught me how to see.
Maria, Boston, MA