In honour of the Annunciation, I am linking to this piece related to Mary's response to Gabriel, and what it meant:
I confess I was always confused about why her question (“How can this be…?”) was considered appropriate and Zechariah’s (“How shall I know this…?”) was considered impertinent. The answer she received amplified our understanding of God’s plan; his answer was to be struck dumb. The way to look at this encounter, I’ve learned in the writings of Jacob of Serug, is not to compare Mary with her cousin, but to compare Mary with Eve. When Eve was approached by an angel, she asked no questions. Alas, she simply took him at face value and acted on his suggestion. Mary, who had to know about the previous ruinous encounter, exercised prudence before accepting the message.
Not only did Mary’s prudence spare her from a possibly disastrous choice, but the answer she elicited from the angel has since been foundational to our faith. She pondered the message in her heart, kept the information in her mind over the coming decades, and meditated on how those events related to the promises of God. When the time was right, she shared what was appropriate with the apostles. What we know of the Christmas story, no doubt, came to life through the quiet words of Our Lady as she told the story of God stooping to earth, entrusting himself to her care and that of her betrothed—who had shared with her his own dreams so long ago.
Read it all here, and rejoice!