A great small action
Two weeks ago, on June 18, 2023, the world was shocked when they heard that a submarine, named “Titan”, that was carrying five people had disappeared. After 5 days of intense searching, they found part of the small submarine and concluded that it must have imploded due to the water pressure and an imperfection on the shell probably due to the weakness of the materials of the craft.
The mission of the Titan was to bring its passengers to see the Titanic which is around 13,000 ft. under the water. In fact, OceanGate, the owner of Titan, is a company that has been offering trips to see the Titanic since 2018. These trips cost $ 250,000. OceanGate Expeditions released a statement in which they announced that all five people in the vessel, including the CEO of the company, “have sadly been lost.”
However, what should actually shock us is the fact that all the newspapers were complaining about the security of the submarine rather than talking about the real value of those trips. Is it worth it to spend that amount of money just to see the Titanic under the water? Is it praise-worthy? This is just one example of the large sums of money that wealthy people spend on luxurious things while so many people live in very poor conditions or even die of starvation. We live in a world where homage is paid to the unusual, the outstanding, the spectacular as if those were acts of virtue. Of course, someone can claim that these wealthy people do a lot a philanthropy so they have the right to have fun. Leaving aside the fact that philanthropy nowadays is more of a business than “love of humankind” as the Greek roots of the word indicate; is it correct to spend a lot of money just for fun?
But really the question is why do people do these eccentric things? We do such things when we lose the idea of God and transcendence. When we lose those ideas, we lose orientation, we lose the purpose of life, we forget that we are spiritual and transcend this world and material things.
We have great desires in our souls, we long for great things and if we do not look for them where they are, we start looking for them where they are not: in the pleasures of life. We were created out of love and for love. Love has that particular characteristic that makes the lover similar to the beloved. Therefore, when we love something smaller than us, we lower ourselves, and if we love something greater than us, we enhance ourselves. St. Augustine: “Love earth, you shall be earth. Love God… then you would be gods and sons of the Most High” (Homily 2 on the First Epistle of John).
This is why love is the way to achieve those great things that we desire in the depths of our heart, because “love promises infinity, eternity—a reality far greater and totally other than our everyday existence” (Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, 5). In order to achieve that we must love something greater than us, and not material things. Doing spectacular things will not enhance us or allow us to become infinite, but rather through doing that small thing every day: we can become infinite by loving the infinite, God Himself.