When the children were younger, the daily task I would have hired out was the dreaded diaper change. Those boys wriggled themselves right off of changing tables, causing me to drop to my knees multiple times a day, child spread out in front of me, diaper and wipes at the ready. It was in one of those moments that I realized my body had naturally prepared itself for prayer. My soul followed, inviting me, then and there, hovering over my baby, to pray. This was no peaceful, prayerful moment, but it was sacramental, unexpected, but true.
Sacramental moments are those times when we connect directly with God and receive the beauty of his grace. We’ve been trained to sequester our sacramental moments within church, but when we do this, we limit God’s ability to reach us. Church is an obvious place to pray, but church is not the only place to pray. God does not save grace filled moments only to be revealed through church ritual; God places his self-revealing moments consistently and constantly in our lives. God forever tries to reach us.
In that diaper changing moment, as I was leaning over my son, my prayer life transformed. God reached out, reminding me that even the smallest most menial tasks contain love. Recognizing that love, transmitted so powerfully through the mundane, can be a difficult undertaking. It took months of diaper changes before this prayerful moment happened because it took months for me to set aside my frustration, enabling love to fill the void.
One of Catholicism’s beloved Saints, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, teaches that the littlest of actions matter, to us and to God, but I had never felt connected to her story. I like big, grand accomplishments; the little things were just noise that kept getting in my way. It wasn’t until I became a mother that I understood how every little deed is an act of love.
Only 24 and sickly when she died, St. Thérèse’s little deeds became the message that we all need to survive day to day life. She became a Doctor of the Church and one of the most beloved Saints of our time because of her belief that every act of love is important, no matter how small.
That moment pressed into the floor, gazing into my child’s eyes, diapers at my side, I remembered St. Thérèse and her reminder that little deeds bring greatness into the world. Suddenly a diaper change wasn’t just a diaper change anymore, it was prayer filled with grace and love.