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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Buck

By
Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.
Source: AmericanCatholic.org

When Nicholas Evans went looking for someone on which to model the horse trainer and healer Tom Booker for his 1995 best selling novel “The Horse Whisperer” he found Buck Brannaman. Then Robert Redford hired Buck as an equine technical advisor for the film version, and according to this new documentary, Buck was his double in certain scenes.

This documentary is one of the finest I have ever seen because it tells a compelling and inspiring story that leaves the audience with the sense that they have seen a truly great film – and met a genuine human being.

Buck and his brother were trick rope wranglers from an early age. Their mother, a wonderful woman by all accounts, was a waitress. She died very young but even before she died, the boys were terrified of their father. After her death, he beat them regularly. A school coach saw the marks on Buck’s back and reported it. The boys were placed in a loving foster home; the couple raised thirty foster children – all boys - in their lives.



The film follows Buck through a series of four-day horse clinics that he teaches for nine months of the year. We meet his spirited foster-mother, Mrs. Shirley, and understand the nurturing influence she and her husband had on Buck and his brother, Smoky (though we don’t learn much about him in the film, Smokey spent twenty-five years in the Coast Guard, married and has a family with grown children. Buck said in an interview that Smokey “has had a good life.”) We even meet the sheriff who rescued the boys, one of Buck’s best friends growing up, his wife, and the daughter who has become an excellent horsewoman and trainer herself. This is a film about hope, resilience, self-knowledge and awareness, self-control and respect. If a person develops these character traits, he or she will be successful with horses, other pets, and most of all, people.


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Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi: Mystical ecstasy is the elevation of the spirit to God in such a way that the person is aware of this union with God while both internal and external senses are detached from the sensible world. Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi was so generously given this special gift of God that she is called the "ecstatic saint." 
<p>She was born into a noble family in Florence in 1566. The normal course would have been for Catherine de' Pazzi to have married wealth and enjoyed comfort, but she chose to follow her own path. At nine she learned to meditate from the family confessor. She made her first Communion at the then-early age of 10 and made a vow of virginity one month later. When 16, she entered the Carmelite convent in Florence because she could receive Communion daily there. </p><p>Catherine had taken the name Mary Magdalene and had been a novice for a year when she became critically ill. Death seemed near so her superiors let her make her profession of vows from a cot in the chapel in a private ceremony. Immediately after, she fell into an ecstasy that lasted about two hours. This was repeated after Communion on the following 40 mornings. These ecstasies were rich experiences of union with God and contained marvelous insights into divine truths. </p><p>As a safeguard against deception and to preserve the revelations, her confessor asked Mary Magdalene to dictate her experiences to sister secretaries. Over the next six years, five large volumes were filled. The first three books record ecstasies from May of 1584 through Pentecost week the following year. This week was a preparation for a severe five-year trial. The fourth book records that trial and the fifth is a collection of letters concerning reform and renewal. Another book, <i>Admonitions</i>, is a collection of her sayings arising from her experiences in the formation of women religious. </p><p>The extraordinary was ordinary for this saint. She read the thoughts of others and predicted future events. During her lifetime, she appeared to several persons in distant places and cured a number of sick people. </p><p>It would be easy to dwell on the ecstasies and pretend that Mary Magdalene only had spiritual highs. This is far from true. It seems that God permitted her this special closeness to prepare her for the five years of desolation that followed when she experienced spiritual dryness. She was plunged into a state of darkness in which she saw nothing but what was horrible in herself and all around her. She had violent temptations and endured great physical suffering. She died in 1607 at 41, and was canonized in 1669.</p> American Catholic Blog Let us never tire, therefore, of seeking the Lord—of letting ourselves be sought by him—of tending over our relationship with him in silence and prayerful listening. Let us keep our gaze fixed on him, the center of time and history; let us make room for his presence within us.

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