Keeping up our pursuit of God

By  Celine Diaz, Catholic Register Special
  • July 28, 2016

Proudly representing our beautiful nation of Canada, my friend and I had the opportunity to perform a hip-hop routine called Project Pursuit at World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland. Inspired by Philippians 3:12-14, we sought to portray the journey that every Christian goes through in their relationship with God: messy beginnings, spiritual highs and lows and growth in our love for God as we become more receptive to His love for us.

Aside from paying tribute to Canadian artists like Drake and Justin Bieber (which had to be done, obviously), we sought to tell a story with our unlikely mix of songs:

  • o “Started from the Bottom” by Drake — represents life before knowing God;
  • o “Sorry” by Justin Bieber — represents repentance and receiving healing from God;
  • o “Blessings” by Chance the Rapper — represents “spiritually high” seasons;
  • o “Don’t Let Me Down” by the Chainsmokers — represents “spiritually dry” seasons;
  • o “Reaching” by Monica Ponce — represents God’s tireless pursuit of us (an original worship song written by a friend from our community CFC-Youth/SFC);
  • o “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake — represents renewed trust in God, no matter what season we are in our spiritual journeys.

In short, the dance was about “pressing on” in our pursuit for God, while acknowledging that He first pursues us — and always will.

If I’m to be perfectly honest, I came into this dance routine with a lot of baggage and insecurities in my heart. Some were related to dance. I used to dance competitively, but have stopped dancing a long time ago and haven’t stepped on stage for years. I was a little “rusty,” needless to say, and almost too embarrassed let myself be seen.

But I realized that this feeling of shame and the desire to hide was not restricted to just dance. How many of us have felt too broken to let God’s healing message flow through us? How many of us have felt too stained by sin to let ourselves be seen, not just by our communities, but by God Himself?

If there’s anything I’ve learned so far at WYD, it’s that all the saints shared one thing in common: an unshakable trust in Jesus’ unfathomable love and mercy. The famous phrase by St. Faustina, “Jesus, I trust in you,” is basically a declaration that God is much bigger than our imperfections, our fragility, our brokenness and our sins. And this always gives us a reason to dance with joy and gratitude.

The moment I stepped on stage, the weight of my insecurities vanished and a blanket of peace fell over me; I was swept away with joy and gratitude. Seeing numerous flags from different countries swaying in the wind in unison … I knew, at that moment, that our Love Story with God portrayed through our dance was not ours, alone; it was the story of every single audience member at that square. Because it is the same God, the same love and mercy, that transforms us all — in every single nation.

WYD may not be finished yet, but I’ve already witnessed enough to know that we are truly the Universal Church. May God bless all pilgrims as we journey through this Year of Mercy.