Sculpture: Pieta, unknown artist, National Gallery of Slovenia, 15th century
A sword indeed did pierce your soul, O blessed Mother; only so could it reach your son’s flesh. After your Jesus – our Jesus too, but yours especially – had breathed forth his spirit, the lance that pierced his side could not pierce his soul, but it did pass through yours. His soul was no longer there, but yours could not leave. Agony pierced your soul, and we rightly call you more than martyr, for your compassion pierced you more than the suffering your senses experienced.
Do not be surprised, brothers and sisters, that Mary should be called a martyr in spirit. Did not Paul declare that one of the greatest sins of pagans was that they were without affection? How different Mary was! How different her servants should be!
– From a sermon of St. Bernard (1090-1153)