Zaneta Tan & George Lim. Watch full video here
Can a Catholic & Protestant be united in faith?
Pains of Disunity
George: I was a cradle Catholic, but my faith only became alive after I had a personal encounter with God at the age of 24. I knew that my partner in life needed to be someone who could share my joys and excitement about God. Zan had grown up in a Protestant church and had a strong fervour for God. When I met her in 2014, I discovered the existence of spiritual intimacy – something that was previously unknown to me.
After becoming a couple, things grew difficult quickly. Practically, committing to two churches and cell groups was tiring. Theologically, talking about our faith with the background of different religions strained our conversations. Like two 4-year olds debating on quantum physics, we did not know enough to make sensible conclusions. Googling for answers left us sometimes hopeful, sometimes indignant. We were getting nowhere.
Zaneta: The first years were isolating. Not having anyone we knew who were interested in the same answers as we were, or someone proficient in both religions we could turn to for answers, made the journey tiring. For a moment, this made us the sole source of comfort for each other, drawing us inwards into a confined bubble.
Freedom in Submission
George: Our initial struggles led me to deepen my knowledge of the faith, and I was excited to share them with Zan. But Jesus revealed to me that certain things could not be rushed. I continued praying the Rosary, and had a certain hope of our unity in faith, having seen how God had worked via Scott and Kimberley Hahn’s “Rome Sweet Home”.
Zaneta: At the peak of our frustrations, we received one clear message from Jesus via different sources: focus on the relationship. Loving each other melted our hearts of stone and reopened them to receive what God wanted to give us. We gradually surrendered our pride, fears and expectations. This marked our first turning point, as it brought us relief and openness to the Spirit.
Oh, the rush of goodness when we started participating with God’s graces. Messages came resoundingly, and exhaustively. To illustrate one of these: I had always felt like an outsider at the mass. Foreign faces at mass (vs familiar faces in my family church) and the exclusion from Holy Communion made the church feel cold, and full participation in the mass difficult. However, during the sharing of the sign of peace at one mass in 2018, it hit me how much MORE beautiful it was that others who did not know me would wish me peace! I started to see myself as a Christian in a huge, dispersed church across denominations and saw our differences as a huge advantage to our spirituality.
Praying together helped mature our prayer lives. I started praying to listen and to submit, rather than to speak. The rosary was a breakthrough for me. I was a big detractor to the idea of saints, and used to feel uncomfortable talking to them. But things changed after I realised I could quell the discomfort by just getting to know them.
George: I was immensely proud of Zan for letting go of her fears, and thankful to God for working behind the scenes, because we were helpless by ourselves. He also loved us deeply through our parents, who supported us despite their own fears. Neither imposed any pressure on us, and this gave not just us, but also God the space to work.
Zaneta: Towards the end of 2018. I decided that I could not know the Catholic church until I had experienced it in full, and therefore I was in no place to form conclusions. Not without heartache, I left my church and joined George whole-heartedly in the Catholic church from Jan 2019.
United in Jesus (#GZus) Christ
Unity in faith had already been achieved long before 2019. The cornerstone of this unity was prayer, particularly the Rosary, while the door to this oneness was our submission to God. The anchor in our journey was the shared confidence that there is one God, one Spirit, and therefore one Truth. This common goal to seek truth together motivated our growing unity. After further research and prayer, Zan eventually signed up for RCIA in 2020, and was received into full communion with the Catholic Church this Easter! Keeping us accountable and growing in our journey is 7G2, a family-centered community under the Office for Young People, where we found people who were also driven in their own Christian formation.
When faced with differences, one might feel under pressure or even some form of hopelessness, however, we will like to encourage you that God has always intended for us to be in complete unity. How we get there is through a path that is actually filled with excitement and joy, one we found after submitting ourselves to God, with prayer as the oxygen to keep our commitment alive. A full life of deep joy and love awaits you, the moment you are ready to let go and let God.