Into the Deep

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

In Defense 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 […]

“Christ at 33” (detail) by Hofmann

In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me

“In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.” Tomorrow we will remember the victims of September 11, 2001 in our prayers as we mark the sixteenth anniversary of that tragic day. As I prepare this article, Irma and José are continuing on their destructive paths. We should include the victims of these storms and those of Harvey in our prayers as […]

"Mulitplication of the Loaves and Fishes" (detail) by Très Riches Heures

Don’t Hold Anything Back from the Lord

There is a great old popular jazz standard written by Gerald Marks and Seymour Simons titled All of Me that is one of my favorite tunes.  I particularly like the rendition performed by Louis Armstrong and another done later by Willie Nelson. The song is about a fellow who lost his heart to a girl who left him, so he […]

"St. Jerome Writing" (detail) by Caravaggio

The Holy Bible and Sacred Tradition comprise the Word of God

“Deacon Mike, why do we believe that it belongs to the Church to interpret the bible? Can’t we just read the bible for ourselves? The guys I do bible study with say that we (Catholics) add things that are not there.” A young man who participates in a “non-denominational” bible study asked me this question. This question comes up from time to […]

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

Celebrating 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. In the United States, the Assumption is a Holy Day of Obligation unless it  falls on a Saturday or Monday, in which case the precept to attend Mass is abrogated: “Whenever January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, or August 15, […]

"The Holy Family (detail)" by Murillo

Seven Essential Lessons for Dads

Our state in life is where we live out our vocation; it is the path by which we journey to Heaven. God has called each of us by name to Himself. In baptism we each received a share in the divine mission and a responsibility to be faithful to that mission. When a man and a woman answer God’s call to […]

"The Transfiguration (detail)" by Raphael

Surrender to the Transfigured Christ

The Transfiguration of Christ (Matthew 17:1-9) 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 more astonished at what they had […]

Help! I need Practical Ideas for Living the Faith

For the last several years, there has been an increased interest in practical advice on how to practice their faith.  Certainly, the uncertainty and growing chaos in the secular world have something to do with this. More recently, we have seen more obvious clashes between our culture and our Church. We can look back through Salvation History and see the pattern. The […]

Photograph © by Andy Coan

What is the Answer to Suffering, Pain and Loss?

Many years ago, I taught a fourth grade CCD class for my parish religious education department. It was the first evening of classes and I was starting the process of getting everyone introduced to one another when one boy blurted out, “I am going to be your worst nightmare.” He was speaking to me. You could say that I was […]