By Father Jacob Dankasa
Special to The Texas Catholic
The award winning 1997 movie, “Titanic,” was epic for many reasons. For some it was a story of young love; it reminded many of the catastrophic accident of the Titanic, the ship of dreams that led to the loss of many lives. Whichever way one sees it, Titanic was a very transfixing movie. It was one of the most fascinating movies I have ever seen.
I was recently on a cruise aboard Royal Caribbean. I made a conscious decision to go to the point at the front of the ship — “the bow.” I have been on a cruise in the past, but I never thought of going to that area. I can remember the bow from the “Titanic” movie — that is where Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) saved Rose (Kate Winslet) as she was about to jump off the ship. I wanted to experience the feel of that section. I stood at the bow and watched the ship as it floated on the large mass of water. The thought of Jack in “Titanic” standing at that same point and extending his arms in the air, excited about being on the Titanic, came to me. I became even more amazed by the nature all around me, reflecting the greatness of God’s creation. A chilly reminder passed through my mind: my life, and the lives of all the people on that ship, are in the Hands of God. There in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by water, none of us on the ship had any control over the movement of nature. Everyone, including the captain, was guided by what nature dictated. It was at that point that I felt the inspiration to write this piece.
Although different people have various accounts of what interests them the most about the movie “Titanic,” one thing that stands out for me is the spiritual value I draw from the movie. Beyond the beautiful love story of Titanic and the unfortunate loss of lives in the loss of that ship, there is something spiritual about the movie that teaches us about the limitations of human knowledge and power. At an early stage in the movie, Rose’s mother asked: “So is this the ship they say is unsinkable?” In what appears to be human arrogance, Rose’s fiancé Cal responded: “It is unsinkable; God himself cannot sink this ship.” Unfortunately, in the end the ship was sunk by an iceberg, a mere creature of nature.
The story of the Titanic teaches us about the powerlessness of human pride. A titanic moment comes when God is relegated to the background, when human intelligence or wisdom is upgraded over and above the greatness of God, when human pride overshadows God’s presence in one’s life. A life without God is a titanic moment.
Our God is not in competition with his creatures. He created nature and empowers us to use it to do great things for the benefit of humanity. To live as though we are the sole creators of our knowledge and inventions is to live outside the realm of our abilities. To subtract God from the equation of our lives is to willingly hand ourselves over to the enemy of all that is good. Each time Satan tempts us to rely only on ourselves, outside God, he is working hard to bring us closer to his net. When he succeeds, we begin to work for him, act for him and live for him. Consequently, our thoughts begin to be guided by pride and arrogance. As always, pride goes before a fall.
We must never allow ourselves to get to the point where we value our human abilities so much that we undermine the mighty powers of our God. Never allow a titanic moment in your life.
Father Jacob Dankasa is a parochial vicar at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Wylie.