Into the Deep

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

"Ascension of Christ" (detail) by Garofalo"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 […]

Santuário de Fátima
Bascilica of Our Lady of the RosarySantuário de Fátima Bascilica of Our Lady of the Rosary

Get to Know the Prayers of Fatima

Today, May 13, 2015, we celebrate the 98th anniversary of the first apparition of Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, to the three young seers at the Cova da Iria in Fatima, Portugal. The children were Lucia de Jesus dos Santos (age 10), Blessed Francisco Marto (age 9) and Blessed Jacinta Marto (age 7). Francisco and Jacinto died within a few years of […]

Marriage: The Union of One Woman and One ManMarriage: The Union of One Woman and One Man

Answering Common Objections to Catholic Teaching on Marriage

In Defense of the Sacraments of Service—Marriage and Holy Orders Our Vocation In His infinite love and goodness, God created man and woman in freedom to know, love and serve Him in this life and to spend all eternity with Him in the life to come. This call to holiness is our vocation and dignity. “Man is by nature and […]

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

The Lord is your Shepherd—Be Not Afraid

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 […]

"The Incredulity of Saint Thomas" (detail) by Caravaggio"The Incredulity of Saint Thomas" (detail) by Caravaggio

Witnesses for Christ and the Breaking of the Bread

The joy of Easter and the Risen Christ is upon us!  Christ is risen!  Truly He is risen! Do you know that you are a witness for Christ? When I was growing up in the southern part of the United States, I would from time to time encounter young, protestant teens and adults who would excitedly take to the streets […]

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

You Can be Healed by Jesus and His 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

Practical Lessons from Death’s Defeat

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

The Paradox of the Cross—Joy in the Midst of Sorrow

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 even suggested that the Crucifix hanging above the Altar is too intense a reminder of the sorrow in the world and that she would never join a […]

"The Annunciation" (detail) by Van der Weyden"The Annunciation" (detail) by Van der Weyden

When All Creation Waited for a Young Girl’s Yes

The Moment There is a moment in time which defines all history; a moment to which all that came before, all that has come after and all that is yet to come, points as supremely significant.  On March 25th of each Liturgical Year, we remember the event that took place then—the moment when the Blessed Virgin Mary gave her fiat to God’s request that was […]

"Christ in Gethsemane" (detail) by Heinrich Hofmann"Christ in Gethsemane" (detail) by Heinrich Hofmann

Five Lessons from Jesus about the Path to Glory

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24) As Christians, we must be people of prayer—pure and simple. If we do not pray, we do not have a relationship with Christ. There are many types of prayer. Among […]