I usually yawn and move on when I hear of a Hollywood celebrity discovering Catholicism. That sentiment doubled when I heard that celebrity is Shia LaBeouf, probably best known for his role in The Transformers movie franchise. However, he gave an insightful interview with Bishop Robert Barron about his encounter with Catholicism while preparing and filming a movie about Saint Padre Pio. Even if you’re not a big fan of LaBeouf, it’s worth listening to. Just imagine Bishop Barron interviewing a recent convert’s observations about the Catholic faith.
Padre Pio’s Influence
I have to give this disclaimer, LaBeouf never actually confirms whether he is converting to Catholicism. It sounds like he is, but at the same time, it’s hard to know what that means. Are we hearing LaBeouf the person or LaBeouf the actor? I hope he won’t be someone who approaches Catholicism as something that has some interesting, therapeutic aspects to it but then promotes ideas that conflict with the Church’s teachings like president Joe Biden or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
I’m going to give Shia LaBeouf the benefit of the doubt and just take his words at face value. His description of his experience living with friars, learning about St. Pio, praying the Rosary, and attending the Traditional Latin Mass are inspiring. If you are a long-time cradle Catholic, you can often forget just how great and powerful our faith is.
Shia Labeouf was at a low point in his life and career when this opportunity to play Padre Pio came to him. Labeouf is known for embracing his roles in his post-Transformers career. In Fury, he enlisted in the National Guard, removed a tooth, and lived like someone on a WWII tank crew while filming the movie. For the Padre Pio movie, he lived with Capuchin friars and learned about Catholicism. However, all that preparation for the film deeply affected LaBeouf. Unlike other movies where he returned to normalcy after filming, this experience changed what normal is for him.
It took living with friars, visiting Italy, and filming a movie about one of the great mystics of our time to change Labeouf’s heart. Not all of us have that opportunity. Or do we? You would be amazed at the transformative power of reading books from the Ignatius Press catalog, attending Mass regularly, praying the Rosary, and getting involved in parish or archdiocesan events. We have so many opportunities to better know God through our Catholic faith that we often don’t take advantage of. We cheer when we hear conversion stories like Labeouf’s. But we also have the ability to write our own conversion story too.
Pray and meditate on the Third Luminous Mystery — Jesus’ Proclamation of the Kingdom of Heaven and His Call to Conversion. He calls us to a life of conversion; changing our worldly ways into his spiritual ones. We don’t need to hit rock bottom in our lives and have a miraculous intervention to convert. We have opportunities to convert every day. That may mean increasing the amount of time we pray, letting go of certain sins or unhealthy habits, and making an effort to better learn and embrace the Catholic faith. If you feel detached or apathetic to your faith, ask Mary while meditating on the 3rd Luminous Mystery to help inspire and guide you in your personal conversion journey.