On December 6th, 20 Ursulines joined a mini retreat via zoom. Facilitated by Sr. Teresita Kambeitz, it focused on the Magnificat, which, according to Sr. Teresita, expresses the longings of Advent. Surprisingly, the Magnificat was not originally Mary's song, but one already prayed by Hannah, who found herself childless and longing 1000 years before Mary.
For both women, the times, though, were wrought with violence and warfare, and people longed for justice, peace and freedom. Both women trusted in God's providence and his protection through God's mercy, the strength of his arm and the promise of he lowly being raised up and the hungry being filled. (Hunger can take many forms.)
In the Magnificat, Mary also echoes the prophets who longed for freedom rooted in justice.
Sr. Teresita sees Mary defiantly singing to her God, expressing the truth of oppression and the longing for love in a world needing protection, hope and freedom. Even as recently as the 1980's the Magnificat has been seen as a subversive hymn, and had been banned in various countries where oppression reigned.
Participants in the retreat were asked to reflect on questions such as where they have experienced God's mercy and protection. Sr. Teresita linked some of these thoughts to the pandemic and how it has increased our longing.