Thursday, January 26, 2012

Don't Do It, Liam Neeson!

It's in the news today that actor Liam Neeson is considering a conversion to Islam.  
The only thing close to a  reason for Neeson's interest in Islam is stated in this quotation: "The Call to Prayer happens five times a day and for the first week it drives you crazy, and then it just gets into your spirit and it's the most beautiful, beautiful thing."
Liam, the Catholics have an official prayer five times (or more) a day, too. In fact, the Catholic church had this tradition before Islam even existed. It's called the Liturgy of the Hours, a cycle of prayers and readings mostly from the Bible. True, lay Catholics are not required to pray it the way priests, monks, and nuns are. But many of us do, and that number is increasing. Pope Benedict thinks all Catholics should use these prayers.  Liam, the psalms and other prayers of the Liturgy of the Hours are beautiful. They express every facet of human experience and emotion as we cry out to our Creator.Pray them for a few weeks and I guarantee, they'll "get into your spirit" too.  Would you please look into this and give it a try? You can find these prayers on the internet here and here.
Liam, you also commented on the beauty of the mosques in Turkey, saying, " Some are just stunning and it really makes me think about becoming a Muslim."  Surely you have visited the cathedrals of Europe? And those in your native Ireland?  By any standard, the stun factor of Catholic architecture equals or surpasses that of Muslim architecture. You know this. 
Please, Liam, what is really going on here? A few years back you narrated a Way of the Cross CD to help raise funds for the Redemptorists, whose missionary work you say impressed you. You know about Jesus, about the salvation He won for us. What is it about the gospel that no longer moves you as it apparently once did? You say you are reading lots of books about God these days. I hope that includes some Catholic ones. May I suggest Orthodoxy by G.K.Chesteton, or, if you want a modern bestseller, try Catholicism by Father Robert Barron,and/ or its stunning companion video series. Before you move to Islam, you have to confront the claims of Jesus. Is He Who He said He was, or not? 
Liam, those news articles didn't really tell much about what is really going on in your mind that would make you wish to choose Islam as a way of life. You said, "I was reared a Catholic but I think every day we ask ourselves, not consciously, what are we doing on this planet? What's it all about?" Jesus Christ and the Church He founded has those answers for you. If you never learned them, or forgot them, or blocked them out because of something a sinful priest said or did, please investigate  once more before you leave. May the Holy Spirit guide you,and Our Lady protect you.