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

Five Keys to Living an Integrated Life

Have you ever played a part, taking on a role of someone else? Some might think back to an occasion when they participated in a school play. Others might think about their roles in business or sales, or even within the home as parents when they might have employed the “good cop / bad cop” approach to resolve a problem. […]

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

Can you explain Purgatory to your friends?

Keeping it simple! On a recent Friday morning, while leading a bible study for retirees, the question of purgatory, the punishments due to sin, and salvation came up. They already possessed a good understanding of this important doctrine. But, the discussion reminded me that Purgatory remains one of the most misunderstood teachings of the Church, and maybe one that is least […]

"Christ, the Good Shepherd" (detail) by Murillo"Christ, the Good Shepherd" (detail) by Murillo

Be Not Afraid—The Lord is Your Shepherd

We live in a world that is at times dark and dangerous. In a moment all can change; our earthly lives can end. Deadly violence unlooked for, unexpected, senseless and sudden can come from natural and man-made sources. That the world is filled with sin, violence and death is mankind’s choice, not God’s will. He permits our freedom so that we […]

Vilnius Image of Divine Mercy (detail) by KazimierowskiVilnius Image of Divine Mercy (detail) by Kazimierowski

An Outpouring of the Lord’s Divine Mercy

All Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation are celebrations of the highest importance on the Church’s liturgical calendar. These days, plus a few others, are known as solemnities. Two solemnities are so important that the Church celebrates them for eight days. We call these solemnities, octaves. They are Christmas and Easter. Essentially, Christmas Day and Easter Sunday are celebrated for […]

"The Resurrection of Christ" (detail) by Bloch"The Resurrection of Christ" (detail) by Bloch

The Risen Jesus Offers Us New Life

Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen! What more fitting conclusion to a week of drama wrought by sin could there be than the triumph of Life over death! There is so much about Easter to help us live our lives in our day. Surely we can more fully embrace all that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ means for us today if we go […]

"Christ on the Cross" (detail) by Velazquez"Christ on the Cross" (detail) by Velazquez

Finding Joy in the Midst of Sorrow

“We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). The Paradox of the Cross The Cross is the great paradox of Christianity. More than a few people have asked me over the years why the Catholic Church focuses so prominently and persistently on the Crucifix. One inquirer […]

"Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery" by Guercino (Public Domain)"Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery" by Guercino (Public Domain)

The Lord’s Mercy Poured Out

“…forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead, I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.” (St. Paul) Have you ever hidden some embarrassing secret about yourself, great or small, that you hoped would never revealed? The fear and anxiety of being discovered are emotions that sometimes weigh very heavily […]

"Jesus Opens the Eyes of the Man Born Blind" (detail)
by Duccio"Jesus Opens the Eyes of the Man Born Blind" (detail) by Duccio

What We Can Learn from the Healing of the Man Born Blind

In St. John’s Gospel, there is the account of the healing of the man born blind (John 9:1-41). It is the sixth of the seven signs recounted by St. John that announce the fulfillment of the Old Covenant in the New Covenant and the passing away of the old rites, replaced by the grace and sacraments of Jesus Christ. It is […]

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

Frequently Asked Questions for Making a Daily Examen

We have arrived at the Third Sunday of Lent. By now, hopefully, we have been diving deep into the mystery of God and His love for us. A necessary part of advancing in the spiritual life and forming a deeper relationship with God is to examine ourselves, praying that God will reveal to us our soul as He sees it. […]

"The Transfiguration (detail)" by Raphael"The Transfiguration (detail)" by Raphael

Suffering Transfigured

The love in which God embraces each of us is one of the great truths revealed to us throughout salvation history, but especially through and in Jesus Christ. To come to a better and deeper understanding of this love, we are continually invited by God into a deeper communion of prayer with Him… to come to know Him as He […]