Into the Deep

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

"Madonna and Child" (detail) by Sassoferrato"Madonna and Child" (detail) by Sassoferrato

The Prophetic Voice of the Catholic Church — Dignity of the Human Person and the Right to Life

“Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what it wants.” (Blessed Teresa of Calcutta) We live in an age that is filled with signs and wonders, many of which are ominous and terrifying—our economies continue in turmoil, wars and the fears of terrorism rage, our environment is being […]

"General Judgment" (detail) by Michelangelo"General Judgment" (detail) by Michelangelo

Practical Steps to Love Jesus More Deeply

We live in difficult times as Catholics. Quite possibly it has always been this way. The culture sends messages to us that are very harmful to our spiritual life. If we have become blind to this truth, it is likely that we are pursuing success as defined by the secular world instead of pursuing the holiness God has called us […]

"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 […]

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 […]

“Christ at 33” (detail) by Hofmann“Christ at 33” (detail) by Hofmann

So Many Voices… Who Should I Listen To?

There are so many voices in our day claiming to speak to us with authority, it is no wonder that so many are confused and misled. These voices come to us through our news and talk-show media, our entertainment industry, our government, our schools and universities, our religion and even from our friends and associates. And even from the Blogosphere! […]

"St. Jerome Writing" (detail) by Caravaggio"St. Jerome Writing" (detail) by Caravaggio

The Holy Bible and Sacred Tradition comprise the Word of God

“Deacon Mike, why do we believe that it belongs to the Church to interpret the bible? Can’t we just read the bible for ourselves? The guys I do bible study with say that we (Catholics) add things that are not there.” A young man who participates in a “non-denominational” bible study recently asked me this question. This question comes up from time […]

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

Strengthen Your Eucharistic Faith

  Four Sundays ago, I mentioned here that the liturgical calendar of the Church was taking a short break from the Gospel of Mark, which we had been hearing this year at Sunday Mass. Next Sunday, we will return to Mark’s Gospel. Counting today, we have spent five consecutive Sundays hearing from the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel. Its content has […]

"The Stoning of St. Stephen" (detail) by Rembrandt"The Stoning of St. Stephen" (detail) by Rembrandt

What the Bible really says about calling Catholic priests “Father”

“Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven” (Matthew 23:9). Throughout history, including that time since the days when Jesus uttered these words, we have referred to others on earth as father. This title is used in different contexts. For example: In our secular lives, we refer to others as father: City Fathers when […]

"The Assumption of the Virgin" (detail) by Guido Reni"The Assumption of the Virgin" (detail) by Guido Reni

Why We Celebrate the Dormition and Assumption of Mary

On August 15th of each Liturgical Year, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This year, that date falls on next Saturday. Here in the United Staes, the assumption is ordinarily a Holy Day of Obligation, but because it falls on Saturday this year, the obligation to attend Mass is abrogated: “Whenever January 1, the solemnity […]

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

Suffering Transfigured by Love

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 […]