Wisdom from Blessed Carlo Acutis & Don Dolindo for Grace Online
In his commentary on Matthew 5:5 (“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth”), Don Dolindo provides profound insights into the true meaning and power of meekness. Though he wrote decades before the advent of social media, his words ring just as true today, especially when it comes to our online interactions.
In a world where outrage, judgment and harshness reign, meekness stands out. As Don Dolindo writes, “There is no force more dominant than that of meekness; because it conquers the soul and subdues the will.” When we encounter anger online, meekness provides an alternative – a chance to diffuse rage and transform hearts through gentleness.
Don Dolindo compares the meek to “a refreshing breeze” and “gentle rain that penetrates to the roots.” Their tranquil strength can melt even hardened wills. The loud and blustery may temporarily overpower others through sheer volume, but it is the meek who ultimately win people over in lasting ways.
Where there is bitterness, the meek offer sweetness. Where there is shouting, they respond with soft answers. They overcome evil with good, meeting insults and injustice with forgiveness and charity. If we hope to change minds and shape culture for the better, this spirit of meekness must permeate our online presence.
Social media often rewards the most sensational, click-bait headlines. It promotes knee-jerk reactions over nuanced takes. Users are tempted to join the outrage du jour or pounce upon the latest scandal with collective furor. But 120 characters of anger rarely transform hearts. Even well-intended advocacy easily devolves into shrillness in the absence of meekness.
As Christians, we can demonstrate a better way – engaging issues with conviction but communicating in ways that inspire rather than inflame. This requires pausing and pondering before posting, filtering our words through the lens of charity. It means considering how even a valid critique can be shared meekly versus harshly.
Don Dolindo knew that meekness is not weakness. Jesus described himself as “meek and humble of heart” (Matthew 11:29), yet He expressed bold truth. We, too, can advocate and enlighten with tenderness, channeling righteous anger away from attack modes and into compassion for the vulnerable.
At times, meekness online means refraining from posting at all, resisting the temptation to fire back at detractors or add our voice to a resounding chorus. “If you cannot convince and realize that your brother has become hardened, why lash out with your words?” Don Dolindo asked. “The message of charity is needed to bring reason back into motion in him.” Often, the most meek yet powerful message is simply to pray rather than publicly castigate.
Don Dolindo lived before the era of viral outrage and cancel culture. Yet he counseled against the very instincts that fuel these forces, urging divine wisdom over reactionary impulses. He knew that a gentle response could prevent combustible situations from exploding into conflagrations.
When we feel wronged online, Don Dolindo advised entrusting our hurt to God rather than unleashing it back onto others. Our example of meekness in the face of provocation can become redemptive. He wrote, “Vent with Jesus, deposit your sorrows in His Heart and pray.” As Christians, we point beyond the endless outrage cycle to the peace only Christ can give.
At its core, meekness requires surrendering our perceived right to meet insult with insult, judgment with judgment. It reflects the confidence that we do not have to avenge ourselves because God sees truth even when it is obscured from society. As Don Dolindo wrote, “Do not say that you need to vent or else you will burst.” Venting only compounds anger. Instead, we can turn injustice over to the One who judges justly.
This does not mean placidly accepting real harm or evil. Meekness chooses peaceful but bold paths to stand for truth, not staying silent in the face of wickedness. In the face of hatred, meekness responds with humanizing compassion while firmly rejecting bigotry.
Even when strong pushback is required, Don Dolindo reminds us to do so without violating inner peace. He wrote, “Even when strength is necessary, it must be tempered with meekness, never being driven by anger but only by justice and fairness.” Righteous anger at injustice, when focused through the lens of charity, can inspire our advocacy without tainting it. On social media, the way we push back against falsehood matters immensely. Godly indignation at oppression can still be communicated in ways that avoid repaying contempt with contempt. With wisdom and discipline, we can untangle righteous anger from unrighteous expressions. In every online conflict, we have a choice: to react out of human instinct, or respond with supernatural grace? To perpetuate destructive dynamics, or interrupt them with meekness? To match the world’s cacophony or introduce a holy hush? Don Dolindo knew that imparting this presence of peace was no easy task. But he insisted the struggle was eternally worthwhile: “It is priceless to preserve it, and each person must do their best not to disturb it in others and to have it within themselves as a treasure.”
The life of Blessed Carlo Acutis, who passed away in 2006 at just 15 years old, provides a profound modern example of meekness in action, including in the digital realm. Though social media emerged after his death, Carlo’s approach to using the internet to share his Catholic faith and document Eucharistic miracles across the globe epitomized gentle strength. He harnessed technology to spread truth and inspiration, touching hearts through kindness. Carlo created his website out of deep love for the Eucharist, not seeking glory for himself but to reconnect others with Christ’s real presence. Just as Don Dolindo depicted the meek as a refreshing breeze amidst stifling heat, Carlo was able to utilize the internet’s vast reach while avoiding its combustible elements. Through his simple holiness, this young “computer geek” impacted countless lives. Carlo lived meekness in the everyday, defending the vulnerable and leading even his initially non-practicing parents back to the sacraments. His life, though short, sparkled with the joy of meek souls who rely fully on God. He demonstrated that even in the digital world, the most powerful force remains a gentle spirit surrendered to Christ.
Dear Blessed Mother Mary, teach us to be meek and gentle as you were. Help us to tame our tongues, be slow to anger, and overlook offenses (Proverbs 15:4, 19:11, 14:29; James 1:19). Grant us wisdom to know when to speak boldly and when to hold back words. May we answer softly to turn away wrath rather than stir up anger (Proverbs 15:1). Let gentleness mark all we do, for the Lord is near (Philippians 4:5). As we navigate social media, make us instruments of your peace and refreshment amidst outrage. Where there is hatred, give us strength to sow love in the spirit of your Son. May we decrease so He can increase. Amen.