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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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Conversion of St. Paul: Paul’s entire life can be explained in terms of one experience—his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus. In an instant, he saw that all the zeal of his dynamic personality was being wasted, like the strength of a boxer swinging wildly. Perhaps he had never seen Jesus, who was only a few years older. But he had acquired a zealot’s hatred of all Jesus stood for, as he began to harass the Church: “...entering house after house and dragging out men and women, he handed them over for imprisonment” (Acts 8:3b). Now he himself was “entered,” possessed, all his energy harnessed to one goal—being a slave of Christ in the ministry of reconciliation, an instrument to help others experience the one Savior. 
<p>One sentence determined his theology: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:5b). Jesus was mysteriously identified with people—the loving group of people Saul had been running down like criminals. Jesus, he saw, was the mysterious fulfillment of all he had been blindly pursuing. </p><p>From then on, his only work was to “present everyone perfect in Christ. For this I labor and struggle, in accord with the exercise of his power working within me” (Colossians 1:28b-29). “For our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and [with] much conviction” (1 Thessalonians 1:5a). </p><p>Paul’s life became a tireless proclaiming and living out of the message of the cross: Christians die baptismally to sin and are buried with Christ; they are dead to all that is sinful and unredeemed in the world. They are made into a new creation, already sharing Christ’s victory and someday to rise from the dead like him. Through this risen Christ the Father pours out the Spirit on them, making them completely new. </p><p>So Paul’s great message to the world was: You are saved entirely by God, not by anything you can do. Saving faith is the gift of total, free, personal and loving commitment to Christ, a commitment that then bears fruit in more “works” than the Law could ever contemplate.</p> American Catholic Blog If you’re confused as to why God would die for you, you either need to rethink your vision of His mercy or of your own worth.

 
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