Into the Deep

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

"The Sower" by Jean-François Millet [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Nurturing the Gift of Faith

Have you ever struggled with your faith? Maybe you love God, but wonder why you don’t love Him more deeply and why that love does not seem to have a greater impact on your life. Maybe you are inspired by the lives of others you know who seem to be so much more deeply in love with Jesus, and you […]

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

Why Do You Confess Your Sins to a Priest?

Have you ever been asked why you confess sins to a priest? In discussing the Catholic faith with non-Catholics, the doctrine concerning confessing one’s sins to a priest often arises. Indeed, in my experience, the Sacrament of Reconciliation ranks right up there with Marian Dogmas among the Church’s teachings that prompt the most questions from those inquiring about the Catholic […]

The Way of the Cross

Five Lessons for Faithful Discipleship

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 Exhortation to the Apostles" (detail) by James Tissot

Courage in Dark Days

Be of Good Courage in these Dark Days Being situationally aware is good advice for everyone, anywhere and anytime. When this advice is given, it usually is a reminder to be aware of what is going on around you—to be ready for any danger. So, during these dark days in which we live, this is certainly good advice. But, what […]

"Sacred Heart of Jesus" (detail) by Chambers

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. […]

Cathedral of Christ the King – Atlanta Photography © by Andy Coan

Jesus—The Living Bread That Came Down From Heaven

The Altar of Sacrifice The Altar of Sacrifice on which the Lord redeemed us is His Cross on Calvary, lifted up nearly 2,000 years ago. Jesus has made it possible for that “once for all sacrifice” to be present to us in our day and where we are… no matter when and where that is. To be at Holy Mass […]

God in Three Persons — Blessed Trinity

We are able to know certain eternal truths without the light of faith. According the Church for example, the greatest truth of all—God exists—is knowable from the light of human reason and the works of creation alone. But there exist truths that we cannot discover until God reveals them to us. The doctrine of God as a Trinity of Divine Persons is […]

"La Pentecôte" (The Pentecost - detail) by Jean II Restout

Pentecost—You can Set the World on Fire

“Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says ‘Jesus be cursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:3). “Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor […]

"Ascension of Christ" (detail) by Garofalo

The Difference the Ascension of the Lord Makes in Our Lives

Years before that first Ascension Thursday, God entered into His own creation as the God-man, Jesus. He came as a humble babe, conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. His birth took place in a stable that housed livestock. Little is recorded of His early years; He was a thirty-year-old when He began His public ministry. During […]

"The Baptism of the Eunuch " by Rembrandt

Our Joys and Hopes

Reflection on the Mass readings for the Sixth Sunday of Easter (Year A) — Acts 8:5-8, 14-17; Psalms 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20; First Peter 3:15-18; John 14:15-21. A principal theme of his Pope Francis’ pontificate is Christian joy. His apostolic exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel, speaks to the heart in a powerful way. In the first reading today, we hear […]