On the occasion of the beatification of the youth Carlo Acutis, Preca Publication published Robert Aloisio’s book Għaxra Żgħar imma Kbar (Ten Young but Great). This book written in Maltese discusses the lives of ten youths, many of them varied, who gave evidence of their faith in Christ with their words and actions. The book is ideal for all adolescents and for those who take care of them because it shows clearly that it is possible to live a good life in the 21st century.
“All people are born originals but many die as copies.” These words were not said by some famous philosopher or scholar of antiquity. They were expressed by a 15-year-old named Carlo Acutis, who was declared Blessed on October 10, 2020.
Carlo was a computer genius, but not only that. He was a holy young man. Perhaps today many might ask, “So can you become a saint nowaday? And how can children and young people become saints in the 21st century?”
Yes, there are children and young people who are saints. And they are certainly not boring children. They are cheerful, creative, fascinating… cool! Girls and boys who speak to us of the good that they do. Young people who live for the Lord and not for the false idols of the world. These are the true benefactors of humanity because they illuminate the world with their virtuous imagination.
Courageous, strong, never giving up, holy young people are missionaries of the good and of what is true. They reflect the rays of Christ’s holiness, of His goodness, of His justice. This book is a modest tribute to these little saints who come from different countries and cultures but who are examples for us to follow.
In addition to Carlo Acutis, the book includes three other young people whose holiness has been officially recognized by the Church: Chiara Badano, a 19-year-old girl who was an active member of the Focolare Movement and was declared Blessed in 2010; Nunzio Sulprizio, the boy saint of Naples who died in 1836 and was declared a saint in 2018; and José Sanchez del Rio, the Mexican martyr who was killed by government officials during the Cristero War in 1928 and was declared a saint in 2016.
Then the author discusses six other young people who have not yet been declared saints or blessed: Janis Babson, the Canadian girl who gave her eyes; Bernard Lehner, the German boy of the War period; Michele Magone, the “general” young disciple of Don Bosco; Mariah Manisha, the “Maria Goretti” of Pakistan; Iqbal Masih, the child activist for carpet weavers; and Maltese Gilbert Simiana, called “Domenico Savio” of Malta.
During difficult times, everything seems uncertain and people become suspicious of everything. These young people teach us that faith comes from trust, like that of a child in their father. They teach us enthusiasm, simplicity, kindness. They teach us not to complicate things. They teach us humility and trust in others. Because children read the heart, not the words. Above all, they teach us to believe, because they were all children and young people who believed completely.
They were young in age but great in faith.