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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Seven Days in Utopia

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

“Seven Days in Utopia” is based on a best-selling 2009 novel by renowned sports psychologist Dr. David Cook: Golf’s Sacred Journey: Seven Days at the Links of Utopia.
 
 
When Luke Chisolm (Lucas Black) ignores the advise of his lifelong coach and caddy, his dad Martin (Joseph Lyle Taylor), Luke loses and his dad walks off the course.  Luke has a meltdown and takes off. He drives the lonesome roads of Texas until he crashes his car in a field trying to avoid a very large bull – a good metaphor for his own hard head and heart. A rancher, Johnny (Robert Duval) rides his horse to the scene of the accident and offers aid.
 
They go to the local diner where Lily (Melissa Leo) and her daughter Sara (Deborah Ann Woll) tend to his cuts. Sara’s hopeful boyfriend Jake (Brian Geraghty) looks on, immediately jealous. Johnny offers hospitality to Luke at his ranch-motel; if Luke will give him a week, Johnny will get him and his golf back on track.
 
This is a perfect film for a youth or parish retreat because it goes through the phases of the spiritual exercises in many ways and it is totally appropriate for young people. Day one, Luke has to write his life story and look for his identity, the next day they go fly fishing, then they paint, and so forth. The rodeo poker exercise is very funny.
 
“Seven Days in Utopia” has much to recommend it but the two things that bother me about it are that the camera can’t take its eyes off of Lucas Black’s face or the Bible – reinforced with a good pat now and then. I really wish the filmmakers would have trusted the audience more and trusted their own skills to choose subtlety over the “in your face” approach. And they missed the obvious by beginning with Easter Sunday and then ignoring it at the end. Easter, with themes of redemption, resurrection, new life are all there, but instead of good parallel structure chose another close up of the Bible, this time with the translation visible. It’s a little cheesy.
 
The PGA and the Golf Channel both supported this film. KJ Choi Asia’s greatest golf champion, plays ‘Tae Kwon Oh” and Luke and he battle it out at the end when Luke draws a wild card position for a pro tournament. The sequence will even keep the non-golfer interested. The opening cinematography especially, is beautiful.

Golf takes self-knowledge, discipline, a community and—soul.


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Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions: Lawrence (Lorenzo) was born in Manila of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother, both Christians. Thus he learned Chinese and Tagalog from them and Spanish from the Dominicans whom he served as altar boy and sacristan. He became a professional calligrapher, transcribing documents in beautiful penmanship. He was a full member of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary under Dominican auspices. He married and had two sons and a daughter. 
<p>His life took an abrupt turn when he was accused of murder. Nothing further is known except the statement of two Dominicans that "he was sought by the authorities on account of a homicide to which he was present or which was attributed to him." </p><p>At that time three Dominican priests, Antonio Gonzalez, Guillermo Courtet and Miguel de Aozaraza, were about to sail to Japan in spite of a violent persecution there. With them was a Japanese priest, Vicente Shiwozuka de la Cruz, and a layman named Lazaro, a leper. Lorenzo, having taken asylum with them, was allowed to accompany them. But only when they were at sea did he learn that they were going to Japan. </p><p>They landed at Okinawa. Lorenzo could have gone on to Formosa, but, he reported, "I decided to stay with the Fathers, because the Spaniards would hang me there." In Japan they were soon found out, arrested and taken to Nagasaki. The site of wholesale bloodshed when the atomic bomb was dropped had known tragedy before. The 50,000 Catholics who once lived there were dispersed or killed by persecution. </p><p>They were subjected to an unspeakable kind of torture: After huge quantities of water were forced down their throats, they were made to lie down. Long boards were placed on their stomachs and guards then stepped on the ends of the boards, forcing the water to spurt violently from mouth, nose and ears. </p><p>The superior, Antonio, died after some days. Both the Japanese priest and Lazaro broke under torture, which included the insertion of bamboo needles under their fingernails. But both were brought back to courage by their companions. </p><p>In Lorenzo's moment of crisis, he asked the interpreter, "I would like to know if, by apostatizing, they will spare my life." The interpreter was noncommittal, but Lorenzo, in the ensuing hours, felt his faith grow strong. He became bold, even audacious, with his interrogators. </p><p>The five were put to death by being hanged upside down in pits. Boards fitted with semicircular holes were fitted around their waists and stones put on top to increase the pressure. They were tightly bound, to slow circulation and prevent a speedy death. They were allowed to hang for three days. By that time Lorenzo and Lazaro were dead. The three Dominican priests, still alive, were beheaded. </p><p>In 1987, Blessed John Paul II canonized these six and 10 others, Asians and Europeans, men and women, who spread the faith in the Philippines, Formosa and Japan. Lorenzo Ruiz is the first canonized Filipino martyr.</p> American Catholic Blog We don’t have to scrub off our sin so God can love us. Instead, when we allow God’s healing love to touch us, we want to leave sin behind. Growth starts in love, not in guilt.

 
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