On Saturday, Mark Wahlberg took a moment to discuss the impact his faith in God has had on his personal and professional life as Christians across the world begin the season of Lent, spotlighting the importance of faith.
While appearing on “Fox and Friends Weekend,” the Hollywood actor expressed the gratitude he had for his relationship with God and his Catholic faith, saying it provided him with a “world” of “opportunity.”
“[The faith] part of the discipline has really afforded me all the other wonderful things in my life, my family, my career, being able to turn my life around. I grew up from very humble beginnings, obviously had a troubled youth,” Wahlberg explained.
Through his teen years, Wahlberg experienced multiple documented troubles with the law, including an incident where he assaulted a middle-aged Vietnamese-American man in the street and referred to him by a number of ethnic slurs, and later the same day attacked another Vietnamese-American, Johnny Trinh. In 2016, Wahlberg formally apologized to Trinh, who publicly forgave him.
“Once I realized that God was calling me and really wanting to help me and turn my life around, and knew that I had potential,” Wahlberg continued. “Once I started to become more disciplined, really, the world became full of opportunity. So, I just want to share that with people and their own. But just being the best versions of themselves.”
Rachel Campos-Duffy, a co-host and Catholic, asked Wahlberg a poignant question: “Was there a moment when God called you?”
“There’s been many things, you know, I would have to say becoming a parent, becoming a husband, certainly. We talked about my youth and that sort of thing. But I think it’s getting older. And, here’s the great thing. Every year you get an opportunity for a reset. We’re all still weak in the flesh. We just want to be closer to God and more like God,” he continued.
Wahlberg urged Catholics to take a more “impactful” approach to Lent, following Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Lenten season.
“Everybody knows what God wants to attach them from and, replacing bad habits with good habits. So, it’s really between you and God, what you decide to give up or what you decide to do more of. I think sometimes, people can give up candy, but it’s a lot more powerful and a lot more impactful to give your time to somebody else and just to give more and do more, even a kind word and a smile. You never know how far that will go with somebody who’s going through some really difficult,” Wahlberg said.
Wahlberg also recently began sharing lessons on fasting in a Catholic prayer app called “Hallow,” where he is a guest narrator, and discussed his “Pray 40-Day Lent Challenge.”
The 51-year-old spoke candidly about how believers can challenge themselves throughout the season.
“It’s the largest Christian app in the world. It was number three on Apple’s free apps ahead of Google and TikTok and all of these things, Spotify, Netflix. I mean, people are thirsty for spiritual connection,” he commented.
“They’re thirsty and hungry for comfort, and guidance and also companionship with one another. So it’s been amazing. You can tell, people are really hungry and they need spirituality in their lives. You can’t really have spirituality without religion, even though it’s been separated. You know, we all know that, it all goes hand-in-hand. We all need to encourage and support each other,” Wahlberg concluded.
On Ash Wednesday, Wahlberg appeared on “Today” to discuss his faith, coming with the traditional ashes in the shape of a cross on his forehead.
“It’s a balance,” the 51-year-old told co-anchor Savannah Guthrie of his practice of discussing religion. “I don’t want to jam it down anybody’s throat, but I do not deny my faith. That’s an even bigger sin. You know, it’s not popular in my industry, but I cannot deny my faith. It’s important for me to share that with people. But, I have friends from all walks of life and all different types of faiths and religions, so it’s important to respect and honor them as well.”
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