How could the Lady weep at La Salette? Isn't she among the saved, the elect in heaven? How can there be sadness in Paradise, tears in a world of bliss?
On earth, tears are the unmistakable sign of sadness and pain. Here on earth, tears are also a sign that the person weeping has come to the end of his or her resources. Weeping is a sign of helplessness before evil or pain. The heart is filled to overflowing with affliction, and tears must come.
The great French Catholic philosopher, Jacques Maritain (1882-1973), has interesting insights into tears and especially the tears of Our Lady at La Salette. He writes:
"It is easy to answer that this is only a manner of expressing oneself – not infrequent in Holy Scripture, where it is said that God repents, is angry, etc... We must be careful, however, not to weaken the truth by our comments and to change God's language into figures of speech or hyperboles. If Our Lady wept, if she spoke as she did, it is because, within the system of signs that people commonly understand, nothing could better express the unspeakable reality of what is happening in heaven. "
"It is not by excess, but by default..."
And the great philosopher reveals what is perhaps the greatest insight into the tears of Our Lady at La Salette:
"These types of expression don't sin by excess, but by default, since they normally imply some imperfection or some pain incompatible with eternal bliss. But all that exists in creation, inasmuch as it concerns the power of water torrents, or the feather-lightness of the flight of birds, or the immensity of oceans, also exists in God in a virtual and super-eminent manner. If there is in tears something good and beautiful, this too – all there is of being and life in tears, but free of all pain and imperfection – is in this manner within God essentially, and by participation in those who see God. The tears of the Queen of Heaven are still infinitely far from revealing to us as they are the sovereign horror that God and his Mother have for sin, as well as the sovereign mercy they have for the misery of the sinner."
"The tears of the Queen of Heaven are still infinitely far from letting us see the sovereign horror that God and his Mother experience for sin, as well as their overwhelming mercy toward the misery of people."
(Italics added; from his work, La Salette: Temoignages, Editions Bloud et Gay, 1946, pgs. 88-89)