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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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John Paul II: “Open wide the doors to Christ,” urged John Paul II during the homily at the Mass when he was installed as pope in 1978. <br /><br />Born in Wadowice, Poland, Karol Jozef Wojtyla had lost his mother, father and older brother before his 21st birthday. Karol’s promising academic career at Krakow’s Jagiellonian University was cut short by the outbreak of World War II. While working in a quarry and a chemical factory, he enrolled in an “underground” seminary in Kraków. Ordained in 1946, he was immediately sent to Rome where he earned a doctorate in theology. <br /><br />Back in Poland, a short assignment as assistant pastor in a rural parish preceded his very fruitful chaplaincy for university students. Soon he earned a doctorate in philosophy and began teaching that subject at Poland’s University of Lublin. <br /><br />Communist officials allowed him to be appointed auxiliary bishop of Kraków in 1958, considering him a relatively harmless intellectual. They could not have been more wrong! <br /><br />He attended all four sessions of Vatican II and contributed especially to its <em>Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World</em>. Appointed as archbishop of Kraków in 1964, he was named a cardinal three years later. <br /><br />Elected pope in October 1978, he took the name of his short-lived, immediate predecessor. Pope John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. In time, he made pastoral visits to 124 countries, including several with small Christian populations. <br /><br />He promoted ecumenical and interfaith initiatives, especially the 1986 Day of Prayer for World Peace in Assisi. He visited Rome’s Main Synagogue and the Western Wall in Jerusalem; he also established diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Israel. He improved Catholic-Muslim relations and in 2001 visited a mosque in Damascus, Syria. <br /><br />The Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, a key event in John Paul’s ministry, was marked by special celebrations in Rome and elsewhere for Catholics and other Christians. Relations with the Orthodox Churches improved considerably during his ministry as pope. <br /><br />“Christ is the center of the universe and of human history” was the opening line of his 1979 encyclical, <em>Redeemer of the Human Race</em>. In 1995, he described himself to the United Nations General Assembly as “a witness to hope.” <br /><br />His 1979 visit to Poland encouraged the growth of the Solidarity movement there and the collapse of communism in central and eastern Europe 10 years later. He began World Youth Day and traveled to several countries for those celebrations. He very much wanted to visit China and the Soviet Union but the governments in those countries prevented that. <br /><br />One of the most well-remembered photos of his pontificate was his one-on-one conversation in 1983 with Mehmet Ali Agca, who had attempted to assassinate him two years earlier. <br /><br />In his 27 years of papal ministry, John Paul II wrote 14 encyclicals and five books, canonized 482 saints and beatified 1,338 people. <br /><br />In the last years of his life, he suffered from Parkinson’s disease and was forced to cut back on some of his activities. <br /><br />Pope Benedict XVI beatified John Paul II in 2011, and Pope Francis canonized him in 2014. American Catholic Blog Lord, may I have balance and measure in everything—except in Love. —St. Josemaría Escrivá

 
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