The troubled movie star has found some much-needed peace in the arms of the Catholic Church.
In some positive news from Hollywood, the actor Shia LaBeouf has converted to Catholicism after studying for his lead role in the upcoming Padre Pio movie. It might not come as surprise to many, considering the Italian saint is a pretty powerful intercessor.
When the actor started preparing for the role as the famous mystic and stigmatist, he reported being in a very dark place due to a number of personal scandals and accusations, as Fox News reported:
“I had a gun on the table. I was outta here. I didn’t want to be alive anymore when all this happened. Shame like I had never experienced before — the kind of shame that you forget how to breathe. You don’t know where to go. You can’t go outside and get like, a taco. But I was also in this deep desire to hold on.”
His decision to take the role of Padre Pio was essentially for his career, and not for his faith. Yet, the actor seemed to be looking for some sort of guidance to help him through his personal trials and tribulations.
Although while growing up, LaBeouf was influenced by his mother’s Jewish faith and his father’s Christian faith, the actor had moments in his life where he didn’t believe in God. However, it seems that God had plans for him by giving his career a certain nudge in a very positive direction.
In an interview with Bishop Barron, with whom LaBeouf had spent time while preparing for his role, the 36-year-old shared: “The reach-out had happened. I was already there, I had nowhere to go. This was the last stop on the train. There was nowhere else to go — in every sense.”
Interestingly he also pointed out: “I know now that God was using my ego to draw me to Him. Drawing me away from worldly desires. It was all happening simultaneously. But there would have been no impetus for me to get in my car, drive up [to the monastery] if I didn’t think, ‘Oh, I’m gonna save my career.'”
The actor also explained how he felt that God had been a little “tricky” in his approach to drawing him closer to Him:
“When I got here, a switch happened. It was like Three-Card Monte. It was like someone tricked me into it, it felt like. Not in a bad way. In a way that I couldn’t see it. I was so close to it that I couldn’t see it. I see it differently now that time has passed.”
The Transformers star also explained how the Christian approach to repentance was also instrumental in helping him come out of his dark place. While having to admit to himself the wrongs he’d committed, he also had to learn how far-reaching God’s mercy can be.
“It was seeing other people who have sinned beyond anything I could ever conceptualize also being found in Christ that made me feel like, ‘Oh, that gives me hope,'” LaBeouf shared with Bishop Barron in the interview. “I started hearing experiences of other depraved people who had found their way in this, and it made me feel like I had permission.”
It’s worth watching the interview in its entirety, as the actor shares much more about his conversion and his role as the beloved Capuchin friar. However, one rather charming, and stressful point that LaBeouf shared was the pressure he felt from other Catholics who would tug on his sleeve after Mass and say to him:
“Don’t get it wrong. He’s the only one we have.”
While we await the release of the upcoming Padre Pio, we can already give it a five-star rating for inspiring a very troubled actor to enter the Catholic faith. And no doubt Padre Pio is smiling down from above for the role he played.