In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary… for nothing will be impossible for God." Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her. (LK 1, 26-38)
Mary has an experience. It is not a vision, nor a dream, nor an apparition. She has a personal experience of God. This experience makes her part of God’s plan. His plan is to bring salvation to the whole human race and to the whole of creation. Plan is global, universal-a master plan, but participation is personal.
God’s plan takes place within a time frame (in the sixth month), in a particular place (Nazareth) for a specific person (Mary). God does not work in the air, in ideas or just like that, His actions are time bound, very much localized and person oriented.
Mary’s response is also personal. (She could have said: I will consult Joseph …) Here, the response is totally personal. God’s gift of freedom is personal and the response also has to be personal. There is no collective freedom (there may be a group of individuals’ freedom which we may call a collective freedom) in responding to God’s plan of salvation and cooperation. God expects an individual response.
Mary’s response was in affirmation to God’s plan that has brought salvation to the whole of creation. As soon as the response is given then God takes over (The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you).
God’s plan is always for the whole of creation or His plan will have a global impact. But God acts through individuals who are bound by space and time. He expects a personal response to take over the individual as an instrument for His plan. The individual is free. Thanks to Mary for her fiat.