Into the Deep

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 Essentials for Discovering God’s Plan for You

When God has a Different Plan I think most of us can remember an occasion when we had something all planned out. It might have been something relatively minor or it might have concerned something of greater significance to our lives. And then, everything changed and the plans we had made had to be set aside for a while or […]

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The Lord Draws Near… Don’t Let Him Pass By

All across the parish I am encountering people who give witness to the nearness of the Lord. The consolations received, the passion expressed, the apostolic zeal displayed, all give evidence to the Lord’s grace in the life of the parish family. This is not unusual for our parish, but this Advent and the weeks that led up to the season […]

Detail of Murillo's "Immaculate Conception"Detail of Murillo's "Immaculate Conception"

What my mother taught me about Our Mother

From my earliest years, the memories of my mother’s prayers to Our Blessed Mother and her praise and thanksgiving offered to Jesus, her Lord, still travel across the decades of time and touch my heart, especially on each feast day dedicated to Our Lady. My mom would tell me over the years that Our Blessed Mother’s love for me was […]

"The Beheading of St. John the Baptist" by Caravaggio"The Beheading of St. John the Baptist" by Caravaggio

Lessons from St. John the Baptist that will change your life…

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way; the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight’” (Mark 1:2-3). St. John the Baptist is proclaimed by Jesus as the greatest of the Old Testament Prophets sent to prepare […]

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A Practical Plan for this Advent

“But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his […]

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

Do People See Jesus When They Look At You?

“As I have loved you, so you also should love one another” (John 13:34). In John 14:15, Jesus tells his apostles, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”  In this passage, Jesus is preparing His Apostles for His departure and the coming of the Holy Spirit. After three long years with them, these are among His final words […]

"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 […]

"Christ the Consolator" (detail) by Carl Bloch"Christ the Consolator" (detail) by Carl Bloch

Is Your Heart Troubled?

Are you at peace or is your heart troubled? “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare […]

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

What are 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 […]

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

We need to Pray the Prayers of Fatima

Today, October 13, 2014, we celebrate the 97th 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 […]