Into the Deep

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

"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 […]

"Jesus Opens the Eyes of the Man Born Blind" (detail)
by Duccio"Jesus Opens the Eyes of the Man Born Blind" (detail) by Duccio

How is Your Sight? Lessons for Living in the Light

In St. John’s Gospel, there is the account of the healing of the man born blind (John 9:1-41). It is the sixth of the seven signs recounted by St. John that announce the fulfillment of the Old Covenant in the New Covenant and the passing away of the old rites, replaced by the grace and sacraments of Jesus Christ. It is […]

"Christ and the Woman of Samaria" (detail) by Paolo Veronese"Christ and the Woman of Samaria" (detail) by Paolo Veronese

Jesus Offers You Living Water

The Gospel from the Third Sunday of Lent (Year A) is the story of the encounter of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well.  Many will hear this Gospel today instead of the Gospel of Year B because catechumens preparing for the Easter Sacraments will be undergoing the First Scrutinies today and this gospel passages is central to their […]

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

Six Keys to help you Surrender your Life to Jesus 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 […]

desert-israel-into-the-lenten-desert-featured-w740x493

Five Biblical Truths About Fasting

Last week, I asked the question, “Are you looking for the secret to a better, deeper, more joyful life in Christ?” and responded by exploring the reasons for the Catholic practice of self-denial. We saw that “fasting and other forms of self-denial, as spiritual practices of materially subduing and controlling the physical appetites of the body, helps us, by God’s grace, […]