Actor Mark Wahlberg appeared on the NBC’s Today show with an ash cross drawn on his forehead to mark the first day of Lent, otherwise known as Ash Wednesday.
During the interview, Wahlberg acknowledged his deep religious convictions but said he doesn’t “want to jam it down anybody’s throat.”
He continued: “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 honour them as well.”
Despite Catholisism being an important part of his life, he doesn’t try to force his beliefs onto his children, instead he said he hopes they will learn from his lead.
“They know that Dad can’t start the day without being in prayer, can’t start the day without reading my Scripture or going to Mass,” Wahlberg continued.
“And hopefully, instead of forcing that on them, they’ll say, ‘Well, if it works for Dad, maybe it’ll work for us,’ and they’ll kind of gravitate towards it on their own.”
Even though he acknowledges there are many distinct parts to Lent, Wahlberg began fasting yesterday as part of his practice.
He explained: “God knows the things that he wants you to detach from. We all know those things that make us feel guilty, don’t make us feel as good as we should. So [it’s about] being able to detach from those things and focus on good habits as opposed to bad habits.
“There are challenges for fasting, like today, I won’t have any meat. I’ll have one meal today, and I’ll do that every Friday throughout Lent and Good Friday.”
Wahlberg’s practise of adhering to Catholicism has benefited him in his professional job as an actor as well as his personal life.
He resolved: “Once I started getting into movies and transitioned from music, I realised I needed a lot of discipline in my life, and that discipline has afforded me so many other things.
“I’ve been rewarded for it so much, and I want to share that with people, whether that’s with fasting, working out more, detaching from other things and just spending more time with God, in prayer or in thoughtful reflection. Those things are important.
“We’ve all had things and issues in our lives, and we want to be better versions of ourselves, and through focusing on my faith, it’s allowed me to do that.”
After watching his interview on Wednesday, many social media users shared their thoughts on his comments and surprising appearance online, with one writing: “Think his remarks were fairly respectful tbh. The fact that he’s letting his kids make their own choice shows that he’s someone who believes in free will. And that alone is worthy of respect.”
While another commented: “Each to their own I’m not a Christian I don’t believe in god but if you do that’s your choice, just respect each other and don’t try to harm anyone or dismiss anyone if they have a different faith or belief or even none at all.”
“‘But, I have friends from all walks of life and all different types of faiths and religions, so it’s important to respect and honour them as well.’ This right here was the most important thing he said in this interview,” a third added.
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