Don’t be afraid to be bashed, keep the faith, priest tells Catholics amid toxic online environment

Photo by Kristine Joy Diane Sarmiento/THE FLAME

DESPITE THE toxic environment in the internet, followers of Christ should not be afraid to be bashed and should hold on to their faith, a priest said.

Fr. Christian Dale Dakila, parochial vicar of St. Therese of the Child Jesus Parish in Laguna, said the life of Blessed Carlo Acutis serves as a guide for the youth struggling with modern-day turmoils, such as cyberbullying and online harassment.

“In the plight of the youth today, what does Beato (blessed) Carlo show us? That, in our context, even though we have struggles and difficulties in our very lives, we can find that faith is necessary,” Dakila said in his homily during the mass for the visit of Acutis’ relics and pilgrim image on Monday, Nov. 13, at the Santisimo Rosario Parish church.

“[Like] Carlo Acutis, like Jesus, we shouldn’t be afraid of being bashed…The only thing we should be afraid of is…losing the ability to love,” he added.

Acutis was known for programming a website called “Miracoli Eucaristi,” where he documented Eucharistic miracles to spread the Catholic faith through the Internet. He is also revered for his devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary through his daily recitation of the Rosary and his consecration to the Immaculate Heart.

Photo by Kristine Joy Diane Sarmiento/THE FLAME

Dakila described Acutis as a model in a world that has become chaotic because of the toxicity of social media.

“Even if we don’t say it, we know that the world is in great chaos… Even in the most simple comment section on social media, we can already see the toxicity of these times,” he said.

“He (Acutis) lived in the Internet age, but his life came with holiness. He lived in our context, but he was able to find true happiness.”

According to Dakila, Acutis was unlike any other influencer as he was a “cyber apostle of the Eucharist” who offered something beyond social media. The youth should emulate Acutis and be brave even in the presence of criticism, he added.

“Carlo reminds us that we can follow Christ and we can be like Christ. Holiness is possible and we should be holy. We become Christ-like when, through holiness, we can identify ourselves to the other and when others can comfortably identify themselves with you,” Dakila said.

“He (Acutis) will remind us and always reminds us that we can never be at the top of the world but we can have our hearts that serve and love God…Carlo made a difference because he has loved.”

Photo by Kristine Joy Diane Sarmiento/THE FLAME

Acutis, the first millennial beatified by the Catholic Church, has been given the title “Millennial Cyber Apostle of the Eucharist.” Once canonized, he will become the first millennial saint in history.

Acutis died of leukemia at the age of 15 in Monza, Italy in 2006. He was beatified by Pope Francis on Oct. 10, 2020. His feast day is celebrated every Oct. 12.

The pilgrim image and relics of Acutis arrived at the Santisimo Rosario Parish on Monday, Nov. 13 and are open for public veneration until Nov. 20. A thanksgiving mass and farewell rites will be held on Monday morning. F – B.Y. Abrencillo and K. Chan

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