This post originally appeared on i.d.9:16’s blog.

By Ali Hoffman

Coming to the Catholic Church after growing up in the Protestant tradition for the majority of my life, there were a few Catholic teachings that I had a hard time wrapping my head around.

“Wait, that’s REALLY the Body, Blood, SOUL and DIVINITY of JESUS CHRIST!?”

“Hold up, I have to say WHAT to a guy in a collar!?”

“Waaaaaait a minute, Mary is my Mother as well!? If I love her, I won’t be able to love Jesus!”

Seriously, that last one I thought about for a long time. For some reason, the idea of allowing Mary into my life as my Mother and letting her love me felt like I was betraying Jesus. It almost felt as if I was elevating Mary into the position of my Savior. I knew she was important (after all, of ALL the women in the world, God chose Mary – that’s pretty significant), but I wanted to keep her at arm’s length because I was scared of her.

It wasn’t until I did a year of missionary work with NET Ministries, and was placed on a team of 11 other wonderful young adults, that I learned how gentle and loving Mary is and how her whole role in my life was to constantly point me back to her Son.

I’m not a Marian expert in the least, but I have come to know and love the role she plays in my life and how I aspire to love Jesus as perfectly as she did. Below are three reasons why I love Mary:

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