This past week something really surprising a wonderful happened. The actor Shia LaBeouf revealed that he is converting to Catholicism and he gave an interview to Bishop Robert Barron of Word on Fire all about it. I highly recommend listening to his entire story. So, please check out the interview on Youtube.com.
In the interview, LaBeouf explains that he was at a
low point in his career when he decided to take on the role of Padre Pio in an upcoming film. He was not getting as many roles as he used to and he was often seen as a second class actor who often did publicity stunts for attention as well as getting in trouble off camera causing scandal. So, when we was offered the role of the Catholic Saint Padre Pio he saw it as a chance to get back into the lime light and really take on a challenging role.
In order to prepare for this role he went to a seminary for Capuchins and spent a lot of time with the brothers there. It is there that he experienced the generosity of the brothers who did not try to convert him but showed him love and respect. LaBeouf did not know what to expect but felt how genuine they all were and that opened him up to the Catholic faith. As he studied the life of Padre Pio, this interest grew and he began to believe the faith.
One thing I picked up from the interview was how hollow he saw everything before he became Catholic. He was raised a secular Jew though he barely practiced his religion. To him, he was just play acting at being Jewish, just phonetically reading the Hebrew at his bar mitzvah (coming of age ceremony for boys) and then carrying on with life. Religion had nothing to do with how he lived otherwise. When he came to Catholicism though, he sensed how real everything was and that he had to straighten out his own life. I think we can all fall into a play acting mode where we act like good Catholics for a short while and don’t let the faith actually change us. So, if we fall into that, may we also have a conversion of heart and turn toward the Lord who is real.
It is good to hear this good news and I pray that Shia perseveres in the faith and continues to use his fame to witness to it for the rest of his days.