Andrew Garfield has come a long way since his days as The Amazing Spiderman.
In his newest film, Silence, Garfield plays Sebastian Rodriguez—a role in which he had to lose more than 40 pounds to play.
In preparation for his newest acting role, Garfield practiced the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius, and in the process found himself “falling in love” with Jesus.
While Garfield is wary of landing on any religion with “certainty,” as he explained in his interview with Stephen Colbert, he found the exercises and the things he learned about Jesus to be life-changing.
He told America Magazine, “I felt so bad for [Jesus] and angry on his behalf when I finally did meet him, because everyone has given him such a bad name… And he has been used for so many dark things.”
The film tells the story of Jesuit priests losing their faith in the face of persecution in Japan. So it’s awesome to see how an opposing circumstance—priests who are losing their faith—would be the catalyst behind Garfield’s newfound relationship with Jesus.
The actor reflected on the profound experience in an interview with American Magazine:
What was really easy was falling in love with this person, was falling in love with Jesus Christ. That was the most surprising thing… That was the most remarkable thing—falling in love, and how easy it was to fall in love with Jesus.
And these words are coming from the same guy who described his religious beliefs as the following to the Hollywood Reporter: “I consider myself pantheist, agnostic, occasionally atheist and a little bit Jewish, but mostly confused.”
The one experience that I wouldn’t want to sacrifice, if I had to choose…it would have been going through those Exercises. It brings me so much consolation. It’s such a humbling thing because it shows me that you can devote a year of your life to spiritual transformation, sincerely longing and putting that longing into action, to creating relationship with Christ and with God, you can then lose 40 pounds of weight, sacrifice for your art, pray every day, live celibate for six months, make all these sacrifices in service of God, in service of what you believe God is calling you into, and even after all of that heart and soul, that humble offering…that humility…even after all of that someone is going to throw a stone and dismiss it. It’s a wonderful, wonderful grace to be given, to be shown.
Garfield described the exercises of St. Ignatius as a “transformational process where you do the imaginative, meditative prayers with the life of Jesus, where you place yourself in each [New Testament] scene, much like being an actor.”
It was ultimately those practices of meditation, prayer and scripture that led the actor to acknowledge the Lord’s presence in his life.
Although Andrew Garfield never confesses Jesus as Lord, it’s clear he’s still searching. And it’s fascinating to listen to the authentic transformation he experienced by digging into the life and teachings of Jesus.
It’s a good reminder of Acts 17:27
God intended that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.
We pray that everyone, like Andrew, who gets a taste of God’s goodness will give their lives fully to him.