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When preparing for the role of Father Sebastiao Rodrigues in Martin Scorsese’s film “Silence,” Andrew Garfield unearthed something far greater than his character.

It evolved into something grander than himself as he investigated Christian theology and spent time with Jesuit priests for a year.

“What was really easy was falling in love with this person, was falling in love with Jesus Christ. That was the most surprising thing,” he said in an interview with American magazine. Garfield spent time with Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest, who taught him more about spiritual life.

“It’s almost like a 12-step program,” he explained. “In fact, it’s the basis for a lot of 12-step programs, a long-form meditation and prayer spent imagining the life of Christ, story by story, Gospel by Gospel, and sitting with his teachings, sitting with Him as He discovers who He is in the wilderness, and really meditating upon His life and even crucifixion.”

The experience radically changed Garfield by encouraging him to be a service to a greater good, to a greater service of love and to a greater service of the Divine. “I feel like this is what God is showing me. And it hurts when I feel misunderstood or not seen…but I’m longing for it to hurt less so that I can keep offering myself vulnerably,” he said.

The experience was quite humbling for Garfield, who devoted a year to spiritual conversion for the role. In the interim, a relationship with God was conceived. “You 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,” he said.

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