Although for centuries commentators and homilists have written and spoken of Mary’s so-called “yes” to the Angel Gabriel’s announcement, it is worth recalling that the angel didn’t actually phrase the announcement in the form of a question but rather in the form of a simple statement: You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. And yet, despite not actually being asked, Mary’s may it be done to me according to your word clearly suggests that she understood Gabriel’s announcement as one seeking her permission, her cooperation, her “yes” to God’s plan. In this sense Mary was not coerced or pressured to acquiesce and become the mother of Jesus, but did so freely and willingly.
And yet in another sense Mary was not exactly free to say “no” to God’s plan—not that she was being forced against her will, but rather that with that clarity of insight born of her sinless state she was able to share in the divine perspective and grasp the wisdom, rightness, and desirability of cooperating fully with the divine plan. Accordingly, with such insight it would have been irrational and a repudiation of her true freedom to say “no” to God’s plan of salvation—especially as the grace of her sinless and blessed state was itself the wondrously noble fruit of this saving plan.
Each one of us has a likewise God-given role to play in the great drama of salvation, and although it is exceedingly more modest in comparison to that of Mary’s role it is nevertheless one that can only be achieved by our “yes” to God’s will in our lives and our willing cooperation with his saving plan. Therefore, let us invoke our Blessed Mother’s intercession so that we too may be empowered and strengthened to utter our “yes” to God and say together with Mary: May it be done to me according to your word. For then, and only then, will we be truly happy and truly free!