J.M.J. "In another famous Sermon on the Sunday in the Octave of the Assumption the Holy Abbot described with passionate words Mary's intimate participation in the redeeming sacrifice of her Son. 'O Blessed Mother', he exclaimed, 'a sword has truly pierced your soul!... So deeply has the violence of pain pierced your soul, that we may rightly call you more than a martyr for in you participation in the passion of the Son by far surpasses in intensity the physical sufferings of martyrdom' (14: PL 183, 437-438). Bernard had no doubts: 'per Mariam ad Iesum', through Mary we are led to Jesus. He testifies clearly to Mary's subordination to Jesus, in accordance with the foundation of traditional Mariology. Yet the text of the Sermone also documents the Virgin's privileged place in the economy of salvation, subsequent to the Mother's most particular participation (compassio) in the sacrifice of the Son. It is not for nothing that a century and a half after Bernard's death, Dante Alighieri, in the last canticle of the Divine Comedy, was to put on the lips of the Doctor Mellifluus the sublime prayer to Mary: 'Virgin Mother, daughter of your own Son, / humble and exalted more than any creature, / fixed term of the eternal counsel' (Paradise XXXIII, vv. 1 ff.)."
--Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, October 21, 2009