Into the Deep by Deacon Mike Bickerstaff

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

"Baptism of Christ" (detail) by Perugino

A New Beginning

The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord Have you ever felt that something you were doing was going so badly that you just wished you could start all over? Or maybe your life is not going that well and you realize that you are just not the person you should be. I would bet that most of us have […]

"The Nativity" (Gerburt Christi detail) by Franz von Rohden

God’s Search for You

Our Search for God It is likely that each of us here actively seek the Lord. Jesus, Himself, instructs us to seek Him, saying, “Seek and you will find.” Man and woman’s search for God is a recurring story through the ages as we try to discover the meaning of our lives. While meditating on the Fifth Joyful Mystery of […]

"Madonna and Child" (detail) by Sassoferrato

God Chose Mary to be His Mother

Each January 1 (the Octave of Christmas), the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.  I receive more comments and questions from non-Catholics, and even some Catholics, about the Church’s Marian practices and teachings than just about any other topic. Some want to know where we can find these teachings in the bible. Some even suggest that Catholics pay […]

"The Holy Family (detail)" by Murillo

Lessons from the Holy Family

The Feast of the Holy Family celebrates the holiness and joy of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph of Nazareth. Each year, this celebration occurs on the Sunday following Christmas Day, unless Christmas falls on a Sunday, then it falls on the following Friday—which it does this year! The Church wants us to see the important link between […]

"The Flight to Egypt" (detail) by Carl Spitzweg

In Memory of the Holy Innocents

On the fourth day of our Christmas celebration, the Church reminds us that not everyone is joyful; that there exist those who are not of goodwill who do not wish to receive the season’s glad tidings. Today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents in which the Church recalls and honors those baby boys whose lives were taken in a […]

"Adoration of the Shepherds" (detail) by Gerard van Honthorst

The Greatest Love Offers the Greatest Gift

“I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) Merry Christmas! I love holidays. I love family. The two just seem to go together, don’t they?. Some holidays are joyful gatherings, some less so. We are all too human, as the saying goes. But I say, give me holidays and family any day; warts and all! […]

Practical Ideas for a Better Advent

We are well into the Second Week of Advent. Already! Don’t worry, if you have not begun your watchful preparation, it is not too late… One of my strongest, most enduring memories from my childhood is the time spent preparing for Christmas. We did not have any family traditions involving the Advent Wreath or the Jesse Tree. And most certainly, like all the other […]

Therefore, stay awake!

“Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come” (Matthew 24:42). This verse is part of a larger passage (Matthew 24:1 — 25:30) where Jesus speaks about the time before his second coming—that is the time in which we all live. Of course this is immediately followed with the separation of the sheep and […]

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

Qualities of Life in the Kingdom

Today is the final Sunday on the Church’s annual liturgical calendar. Not only is Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, not only is he our brother and friend, Jesus Christ is our God and our King. And so we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe—or Christ the King. This celebration is a recent addition to […]

Marriage: The Union of One Woman and One Man

The Essential Nature of 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 […]