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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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Philip Neri: Philip Neri was a sign of contradiction, combining popularity with piety against the background of a corrupt Rome and a disinterested clergy, the whole post-Renaissance malaise. 
<p>At an early age, he abandoned the chance to become a businessman, moved to Rome from Florence and devoted his life and individuality to God. After three years of philosophy and theology studies, he gave up any thought of ordination. The next 13 years were spent in a vocation unusual at the time—that of a layperson actively engaged in prayer and the apostolate. </p><p>As the Council of Trent (1545-63) was reforming the Church on a doctrinal level, Philip’s appealing personality was winning him friends from all levels of society, from beggars to cardinals. He rapidly gathered around himself a group of laypersons won over by his audacious spirituality. Initially they met as an informal prayer and discussion group, and also served poor people in Rome. </p><p>At the urging of his confessor, he was ordained a priest and soon became an outstanding confessor, gifted with the knack of piercing the pretenses and illusions of others, though always in a charitable manner and often with a joke. He arranged talks, discussions and prayers for his penitents in a room above the church. He sometimes led “excursions” to other churches, often with music and a picnic on the way. </p><p>Some of his followers became priests and lived together in community. This was the beginning of the Oratory, the religious institute he founded. A feature of their life was a daily afternoon service of four informal talks, with vernacular hymns and prayers. Giovanni Palestrina was one of Philip’s followers, and composed music for the services. </p><p>The Oratory was finally approved after suffering through a period of accusations of being an assembly of heretics, where laypersons preached and sang vernacular hymns! (Cardinal Newman founded the first English-speaking house of the Oratory three centuries later.) </p><p>Philip’s advice was sought by many of the prominent figures of his day. He is one of the influential figures of the Counter-Reformation, mainly for converting to personal holiness many of the influential people within the Church itself. His characteristic virtues were humility and gaiety.</p> American Catholic Blog We need do no more than we are doing at present; that is, to love divine Providence and abandon ourselves in his arms and heart.<br />—St. Padre Pio

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