“Transformers” star Shia LeBeouf has seriously transformed his own life.
LeBeouf, 36, opened up this week during a lengthy interview with Bishop Robert Barron on his show “Word on Fire” about his stunning conversion to faith. The actor said God broke through to him while he stayed in a monastery for his lead role as a Franciscan friar in an upcoming biopic.
At some point, LeBeouf told Barron, his time at the monastery stopped being “prep for a movie” and turned into “something beyond all that.”
“I know now my God was using my ego to draw me to Him,” he said.
The actor’s spiritual renaissance came at a time of significant darkness in his life.
While he acknowledged he never viewed himself “as an atheist,” LeBeouf admitted he did define himself as an agnostic who “liked to argue.” Ultimately, though, he turned to faith when his world was “on fire.”
LeBeouf said he had “hurt a lot of people” and felt so ashamed of himself he once considered suicide.
“I had a gun on the table; I was outta here,” the actor said. “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.”
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It was in that season LeBeouf accepted the titular role in the film “Padre Pio,” debuting Sept. 9.
The celebrity began preparing for the movie, which chronicles the interesting and controversial life of the late Italian priest, at a point in which he had no friends in his life. LeBeouf remembered then sensing a “deep desire to hold on” as he began reading the Bible for the film.
“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,'” explained LeBeouf. “I started hearing experiences of other depraved people who had found their way in this, and it made me feel like I had permission.”
About one year before LeBeouf traveled to Italy to begin shooting scenes for “Padre Pio,” he was hit with a lawsuit from his ex-girlfriend, Tahliah Debrett Barnett, better known by her stage name FKA Twigs, for sexual battery, infliction of emotional distress, and assault. She also accused LeBeouf of wittingly giving her an STD. The actor, for his part, has denied the allegation “generally and specifically.”
That lawsuit is set to go to trial in Los Angeles beginning April 17, 2023.
The Catholic priest LeBeouf is portraying, Saint Pius of Pietrelcina, also known as Padre Pio, was certainly a controversial person. He was revered by Catholics for purportedly experiencing the stigmata — the appearance of the bodily wounds correlating with Jesus’ crucifixion — as a teenager.
He is also credited with having had extrabiblical and questionable — if not concerning — abilities, such as being able to hear confession for 12 hours at a time without tiring, knowing a parishioner’s sins before he or she disclosed them, and even the alleged ability to be present in two places at once.
Many of these purported abilities ostensibly contradict Scripture.
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