There are many times in our lives that we expect God to speak to us in extraordinary, dramatic ways. Surviving a plane crash, missing a plane or train only to find that you were saved by a vending machine or your lackadaisical child who made you late, meeting your soul mate on the top of the Empire State Building a la Sleepless in Seattle, having a "near-death" experience are all ways in which we expect to see God at work or to hear Him speak to us.
There is nothing wrong with looking for or listening for God in these things because He is there. He is in all things and can be heard in all things. However, God speaking through extraordinary events tends to be the exception rather than the rule.
God tends to speak to us through small, barely noticeable events and lives. Even the birth of his Son, the saviour of the world, was an unextraordinary one. Born in a stable and laid in a manger, Jesus came into the world. Until the beginning of His ministry, Jesus was himself a rather unextraordinary person doing the will of the Father by honouring His mother and father here on Earth.
One such life was the life of my grandmother. She was far from being important by the world's standards. She lived a simple life in Assumption Parish, where she was born and raised and where she got married, gave birth to 12 children and raised them. She was a person of little account by what society would tell us.
She dedicated her life to being a devoted wife and mother; seeking only to follow the Lord's will for her. For 101 years, she was extraordinary without anyone ever noticing. Her love for the Lord and her family were at the forefront of her life. She was a member of the Lay Carmelites and devoted hours each day to praying the rosary and offering prayers of petition to our Lord for her family and friends and any other person who needed prayers. She received the sacraments as often as she could and was devoted to the Lord in every way.
She was an example of unconditional love to everyone around her. She gave of herself constantly by offering housing to a relative in need, taking care of grandchildren when it was needed, taking care of her sisters' children at times, and praying unceasingly.
Never did she pronounce a word of ill will toward another, and she was generous with her time and her love. Through her life and her love, my grandmother's 118 direct descendants as well as everyone with whom she came into contact were shown the example of how to love and be loved and how to live a full and glorious life according to the will of the Father in Heaven.
In the end, she passed on to the Father in the same fashion she lived her life: surrounded by her family, with love, with devotion, and without question. As he called her name, she answered joyously and with quiet resignation to His will, not unlike the mother of our Lord. Her life of humility, love, and resignation to the Father's will reflects that of the Blessed Virgin. It's no surprise that she was called to join our Father in Heaven on the Feast day of the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God.
An example to us all, my grandmother has touched the lives of so many, and her impact will continue to be felt for years and generations to come. Hopefully, we will pass on the example that she set for us during her long, fulfilling, profound, yet simple life.