Into the Deep

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

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

King of the Universe—Cause of My Hope

“Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Today is the final Sunday on the Church’s annual liturgical calendar.  Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King—King of the Universe. Not only is Jesus Christ the Messiah and our Savior, not only is he our brother and our friend, Jesus Christ is our Lord and King. To […]


What does the Catholic Church Teach About Holy Orders?

In Defense of the Sacraments of Service—Marriage and Holy Orders On Sunday, we looked at the teaching of the Church on Christian Vocation and answered common objections to its teachings regarding marriage. Today, our focus is on Holy Orders. Common Objections Concerning Holy Orders Objection to Holy Orders #1: There is no need for priesthood. Jesus is the one mediator between […]

Marriage: The Union of One Woman and One ManMarriage: 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 […]

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

Six Keys to fully Surrender to Christ

At the center of Mark’s Gospel, the Transfiguration of Christ (Mark 9:2-10) stands prominently as an encouragement along the walk from Baptism to Resurrection; a walk that must pass through the Cross. Place yourself in the position of the Apostles—they have journeyed with Jesus since he began his public ministry and I am sure that they could not have been […]

"The Virgin at Prayer" (detail) by Sassoferrato"The Virgin at Prayer" (detail) by Sassoferrato

Mary and the Saints are Powerful Intercessors

Today is the Solemnity of All Saints, a celebration of those who have died and attained Heaven. We will remember those who are undergoing purgation tomorrow on All Souls Day. In yesterday’s featured article by Dr. Marcellino D’ambrosia, we looked at All Saints Day and that God desires all of us to become saints. Today, I would like to look […]

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

Do You Want to Know the Essential Qualities of Prayer?

In my parish ministry and work around the archdiocese, one of the questions I receive most frequently is like the question posed to Our Lord in Luke’s Gospel, “He was praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’” (Luke 11:1) People simply […]

St. Augustine of Hippo (detail)
by Sandro BotticelliSt. Augustine of Hippo (detail) by Sandro Botticelli

Abide with me, Lord

Deep within each of us is a hunger and thirst. For some, the feeling is so strong that it is never quite out of mind. For others, the feeling is repressed and hardly noticed, although it remains a part of them. The simple fact is that the very space we take up and all that is around us did not always exist. […]

The Miracle of the Sun at Fatima - October 13, 1917The Miracle of the Sun at Fatima - October 13, 1917

Praying the Five Fatima Prayers

Today, October 13, 2015, we celebrate the 98th anniversary of the final apparition of Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, to the three young seers at the Cova da Iria in Fatima, Portugal during 1917. It was on this day that the Miracle of the Sun was witnessed by up to 100,000 people. The children were Lucia de Jesus dos Santos (age […]

"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 […]