Ἰδοὺ ἡ δούλη Κυρίου: γένοιτό μοι κατὰ τὸ ῥῆμά σου. (“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”) (Luke 1:38)
The Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, the Theotokos, refers to herself as a slave. A "δούλη" (doo-lay) is literally a slave in Greek. How can this be for the one chosen to bring Freedom himself into the world? Simple: "Freed from sin, you have become slaves of righteousness." (Romans 6:18)
By continuously turning her will over to the will of Our Heavenly Father, the Blessed Virgin Mary was completely the Lord's. The Annunciation simply ratifies the good work begun at the Immaculate Conception. Mary can say without irony or imperfection that she is completely and totally God's.
As a result, the Annunciation invites us to meditate upon both the mystery of Our Lord's Incarnation and Our Lady's model of discipleship. Discipleship is a radical call. Our Lord takes us into Himself and completely flips the script. "For the slave called in the Lord is a freed person in the Lord, just as the free person who has been called is a slave of Christ." (1 Corinthians 7:22) We are called to be something only Christ can make us: a part of Christ Himself.
In this light, the Annunciation should not be something distant and foreign, but something common to our everyday lives. Each day we have the opportunity in tasks big and small to say, "Let it be done," or "I am a slave of the Lord." As difficult as this may be to understand, in the Blessed Virgin's life of perfect grace and virtue, the Annunciation was but another simple, perfect assent to the will of God.
For us, the life of virtue and grace made possible through Christ consists in simple assents to the will of God. The simple assent of offering a word of gratitude and love. The simple assent of praying throughout the day. The simple assent of loving in the face of hate and hoping in the face of despair. Every day, simple assents prepare us for the moment of the Annunciation in our own lives when the Triune God will ask of us something new, something difficult, something that makes sense only in Him.
When we die to self and live to Christ in small moments, we too, like the Blessed Virgin Mary, can joyfully say, "I am the slave of the Lord," when our moment of truth comes.