St. Alphonsus observes that Marys’ martyrdom was more severe than that of the other martyrs, not just because it was longer and more intense, but because she suffered it without relief.
Here we must reflect on another circumstance that rendered the mar-
tyrdom of Mary beyond all comparison greater than the torments of all the mar- tyrs: In the passion of Jesus she not only suffered much; she suffered without the least relief. The martyrs suffered under the torments inflicted on them by tyrants. But the love of Jesus rendered their pains sweet and agreeable. St. Vincent was tortured on a rack, torn with pincers, burned with red-hot iron plates. But Vin- cent addressed the tyrant with such energy and contempt for his torments, that it seemed as if one Vincent suffered and another spoke—so greatly did God strengthen him with the sweetness of his love in the midst of all he endured. A St. Boniface had his body torn with iron hooks; sharp-pointed reeds were thrust between his nails and flesh; melted lead was poured into his mouth; and in the midst of all this he couldn’t tire of saying, “I give you thanks, Lord Jesus Christ.”
The more the holy martyrs loved Jesus, then, the less they felt their torments and death. The sight alone of the sufferings of a crucified God was sufficient to console them. But was our suffering mother also consoled by love for her Son, and the sight of his torments? No! For this very Son who suffered was the whole cause of them, and the love she bore him was her only and most cruel executioner.
—St. Alphonsus Liguori, The Glories of Mary
IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
What does it mean to say that “Jesus himself, and he alone, was the instru- ment” of Mary’s martyrdom”?
From the Stabat Mater Dolorosa: Mother, make me feel as thou hast felt; make my soul to glow and melt with the love of Christ, my Lord.
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