Arise in Faith


“Arise in faith, hasten in devotion, open in praise and thanksgiving. Behold the handmaid of the Lord, she says, be it done to me according to your word.” (A homily in Praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary, by Saint Bernard, abbot; from the Second Reading for Matins on December 20).


At times, this life that we directly experience and live through our five material senses can seem to be all that there is. But in reality, we see only dimly in this fallen world. It is as if we live in the shadows of the real world. The real world is so much more than we see. It is deeper, richer, higher, with a fullness and perfection that we can only see in Our Lord through His Sacraments.

We are not able to see far down the road, around the next bend. It is in the present, where we are, that we find God’s will for our lives. Hs will is right in front of us. He sent His Son, who came as a Light to a world that was oppressed in darkness. And now His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, sends each of us to be Lights of Christ pushing back the darkness in the present world.

In his homily of the Blessed Virgin, St. Bernard marveled at that moment when Mary’s answer at the Annunciation would determine whether God would become Man. He reflected on the deep truth that creation awaited the Virgin’s reply.

We have such a wonderful God. He made us out of His infinite goodness with love and for love. Although we turned from Him and continue at times to do so, He remains with us. Seek His light that shines upon us… pushing back the darkness from the shadows. Seek the light, embrace the light. Receive the fullness of the Lord and all that He has revealed and commanded. Christ now awaits our reply, each day and at each moment. Arise in faith…

Come, Lord Jesus.


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About the Author

Deacon Mike Bickerstaff Editor-In-Chief, ICL

Deacon Michael Bickerstaff is the Editor in chief and co-founder of the The Integrated Catholic Life.™ A Catholic Deacon of the Roman Rite for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Deacon Bickerstaff is assigned to St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church where he is the Director of Adult Education and Evangelization.

He is also the Founder and President of Virtue@Work, where he provides Executive and Personal Coaching, Mentoring and Organizational Consulting. Deacon Mike has 30+ years management consulting experience in senior executive leadership positions providing organizational planning and implementation services with a focus on human resource strategy and tax qualified retirement plan design, administration and compliance.

He is a co-founder of the successful annual Atlanta Catholic Business Conference; the Chaplain of the Atlanta Chapter of the Woodstock Theological Center’s Business Conference; and Chaplain of the St. Peter Chanel Faith at Work Business Association and co-founder and Chaplain of the Marriages Are Covenants Ministry, both of which serve as models for similar parish-based ministries.

He and his wife have two married children and three grandchildren.

NB: The views I express on this site are my own. I am not an official spokesman for either my parish or diocese.

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