For the holy martyrs, the more they loved Jesus, the less they felt torments and death, and the sight alone of the sufferings of a crucified God was sufficient to console them. But was not our afflicted mother, also, thus consoled by love for her Son, and the sight of his sufferings?
No, for this very Son who suffered, was the whole cause of her grief; and the love she bore him was her only, and too cruel executioner.
For the whole martyrdom of Mary consisted in seeing and pitying her innocent and beloved Son who suffered so much. Therefore, the more she loved him, the more bitter and inconsolable was her sorrow. “Great as the sea is your destruction, who shall heal you?” Ah, queen of Heaven, love has alleviated the sufferings of other martyrs, and has healed their wounds; but who has ever soothed your great sorrow? Who has ever healed the cruel wounds of your heart? Who will heal you? If that same Son, who could give you consolation, was by his sufferings the sole cause of your sorrows, and the love that you did bear him caused all your martyrdom? Therefore, while the other martyrs are all represented with the instrument of their passion St. Paul with the sword, St. Andrew with the cross, St. Lawrence with the gridiron, Mary is represented with her dead Son in her arms, because Jesus himself alone was the instrument of her martyrdom due to the love which she bore him. In a few words, St. Bernard confirms all I have said “With the other martyrs their great love soothed the anguish of their martyrdom; but the more the blessed Virgin loved, so much the more she suffered, and so much crueler was her martyrdom.”
(St. Alphonsus Liguori)