Into the Deep by Deacon Mike Bickerstaff

A blog by Deacon Mike Bickerstaff about practical faith for ordinary daily life.

"King David in Prayer (detail)" by Pieter de Grebber"King David in Prayer (detail)" by Pieter de Grebber

The Qualities of Prayer Taught by the Lord

In my parish ministry and work around the archdiocese, one of the questions I receive most frequently is like the question posed to Our Lord in Luke’s Gospel, “He was praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’” (Luke 11:1) People simply […]

"The Sermon on the Mount" (detail)
Carl Bloch, 1890"The Sermon on the Mount" (detail) Carl Bloch, 1890

To Hear and Receive the Word Proclaimed

In paragraphs 135 – 144 of Evangelii Gaudium, the Holy Father speaks about the importance of the homily within the liturgical celebration. Right off the bat, Pope Francis describes what the homily can and should be, “an intense and happy experience of the Spirit, a consoling encounter with God’s word, a constant source of renewal and growth” (¶ 135). In […]

when-you-choose-life-dad-son-kite-featured-w740x493

Life Begins at Conception — The Science is Settled

I was checking out the latest tweets on Twitter… did I really just write THAT!?!  Anyway, I stumbled upon a conversation between a solid, pro-life Catholic and someone who thinks that opposition to abortion is ridiculous. So, did I quietly move on, recognizing that 140 character-limit tweets is no place to enter into debate on the culture wars? Nope. Against all […]

The Way of the CrossThe Way of the Cross

Five Discipleship Lessons for Following Jesus

There is a section of Luke’s Gospel known as the Travel Narrative. In this section, Jesus and his disciples journey together to Jerusalem for the last time where redemption will be won and the Church will be born. St. Luke takes nearly ten chapters (9:51-19:27) to record this journey to Jerusalem. Along the way, Jesus prepares his disciples for the work to […]

"The Holy Family (detail)" by Murillo"The Holy Family (detail)" by Murillo

Seven Essential Lessons for Dads

Who Introduced You to the Lord? The first question I would like to pose, is simply this: “How did you come by your faith, whether it be weak or strong, new or old? Where and when did you first come to encounter Jesus and his glorious Gospel?” For many of us, the answer would be, “I first came to know […]

"Return of the Prodigal Son" (detail) by Murillo"Return of the Prodigal Son" (detail) by Murillo

“Have you been saved?”

Have You Been Saved? In Acts 4, St. Peter delivers a powerful sermon. He concludes by saying, “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” I have written before in these pages of the time when I was growing up in the […]

American War Cemetery near Omaha Beach, Normandy (Colleville-sur-Mer )American War Cemetery near Omaha Beach, Normandy (Colleville-sur-Mer )

Operation Overlord

Seventy-two years ago today, the largest invasion by armed forces in the history of the world took place as Allied forces during World War II landed on the beaches of Normandy, France. The operation, code-named “Operation Overlord,” began on June 6, 1944 and continued until late August of that year when Northern France was liberated. Each year, fewer veterans from […]

St. Augustine of Hippo (detail)
by Sandro BotticelliSt. Augustine of Hippo (detail) by Sandro Botticelli

A Testimony to Faith

Deep within each and every one of us there is a hunger and a thirst.  We all experience this yearning of the soul—a heart that burns with longing—but we don’t always recognize what it is for which we yearn.  We can spend years trying to satisfy this yearning, yet never be satisfied. St. Augustine expresses this reality so beautifully, “Thou […]

"Sacred Heart of Jesus" (detail) by Chambers"Sacred Heart of Jesus" (detail) by Chambers

Why you should practice devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

One can discover a wide and deep variety of devotions and spiritualities in the Catholic faith. Devotion to the Sacred Heart is one of the most visible and important. Very few people whom I know would be unfamiliar with at least the title Sacred Heart. Many parishes and Catholic institutions are named in honor of and dedicated to the Sacred Heart. […]

Mission Dolores Altar (San Francisco)
Photograph © by Andy CoanMission Dolores Altar (San Francisco) Photograph © by Andy Coan

Christ’s Gift of the Eucharist—Do you believe?

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ—Corpus Christi. Jesus began to prepare us for this great gift of the True Presence of His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Most Holy Eucharist when He performed the miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes and by His Bread of Life Discourse. This teaching […]