"One must take these words of Vasari about the 'divine beauty' of the work in the most literal sense, in order to understand the meaning of this composition. Michelangelo convinces both himself and us of the divine quality and the significance of these figures by means of earthly beauty, perfect by human standards and therefore divine. We are here face to face not only with pain as a condition of redemption, but rather with absolute beauty as one of its consequences." link.
Further, Michelangelo wanted Christ and Mary in the Pieta, to symbolize the mystical union of Christ and the Church. He was not satisfied with this sculpture and feared that it would be misinterpreted as discussed here.
The Stabat Mater
Our Lady of Sorrows
Chicago boasts a massive and gorgeous Basilica devoted to Our Lady of Sorrows. It's in an area that requires caution however, during the day it was easy enough to make a pilgrimage there as it is immediately off the freeway. The premises is gated so call ahead. There is a full museum in the lower level.
Shown above is their full sized exact replica of the Pieta. They explain that this is one of only a small group that duplicate authentically Michelangelo's sculpture.
‘Whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ’s dear Mother to behold?
Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
In that mother’s pain untold?