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

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 [...]

"All Saints" by Fra Angelico"All Saints" by Fra Angelico

Do Catholics Really Pray To Mary and the Saints in Heaven?

I overheard a conversation after a morning bible study at my parish about praying to Mary and the Saints.  It went something like this (names changed)… “Thanks so much for inviting me, Beth. You have a wonderful group here. I have a question, though. I hope it doesn’t offend you, but being non-Catholic, I just don’t understand this praying to [...]

Praying the RosaryPraying the Rosary

Lepanto and Our Lady of the Rosary

The Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary Have you ever experienced the peace and grace that is gained from a fervent praying of the Rosary? For many Catholics, the prayers of the Rosary are like an old friend whose company never grows old. With Jesus as our brother, we cherish the time we are able to spend with His Blessed [...]

"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 [...]

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

Five Keys to Living an Integrated Life

Have you ever played a part, taking on a role of someone else? Some might think back to an occasion when they participated in a school play. Others might think about their roles in business or sales, or even within the home as parents when they might have employed the “good cop / bad cop” approach to resolve a problem. [...]

"Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard" (detail) by Rembrandt"Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard" (detail) by Rembrandt

It’s not about what we have… It’s Who We Are that Matters

I believe that one of the great challenges of our time derives from the loss of knowledge of who we are and what we are made for. Actually, we may know these eternal truths, but we tend to suppress them in our consciousness. In this age of consumerism, we tend to define ourselves, not by who we are and for [...]

"Return of the Prodigal Son" (detail) by Murillo"Return of the Prodigal Son" (detail) by Murillo

Purgatory — Perfected by the Love of God

Keeping it simple! Last Friday morning, while leading a bible study for about 40 retirees, the question of purgatory, the punishments due to sin, and salvation came up. They already possessed and good understanding of this important doctrine. But, the discussion reminded me that Purgatory remains one of the most misunderstood teachings of the Church, and maybe one that is least [...]

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Why Sacrifice is Necessary in this Life

One of the things with which we so often struggle is to understand our condition in a fallen world. Each of us, in our own way, has experienced the pain and suffering so often encountered as one journeys through this world on our road to heaven. It is a road of sacrifice paved with the cross of Christ. If we [...]

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

Get Ready to 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 Friday. Mary’s earthly death has been nearly unanimously held by the Church’s theologians through the centuries. The Church’s liturgies affirm this. Indeed, the Solemnity of the Assumption was first known and celebrated as [...]