Into the Deep

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

"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 […]

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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, […]

"Christ in the Desert (detail)" by Ivan Kramskoy"Christ in the Desert (detail)" by Ivan Kramskoy

Why Catholics Practice Fast and Abstinence?

Would you like to know the secret to a better, deeper, more joyful life in Christ? Of course you would.  We all would. Our bookstores are filled with books written to help us advance in prayer and the spiritual life. The “secret” we all look for is really no secret at all.  At its heart, the gospel message is one […]

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

How am I to understand suffering?

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. The road to heaven is a way of suffering and sacrifice; and it leads […]

"Conversion of Saint Paul" (detail) by Caravaggio"Conversion of Saint Paul" (detail) by Caravaggio

Conversion Stories from the Bible

Nearly everyone loves conversion stories. Over the last couple of decades, the conversion stories of people who have entered the Catholic Church have exploded onto the scene in the form of compilations of short stories found in books such as Surprised by the Truth and more detailed accounts such as found in Scott and Kimberly Hahn’s Rome Sweet Home. But no book contains more […]

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The Abortion Culture’s Assault on Innocent Human Life

This is a dark day in the history of the United States of America. Forty-two years ago, on January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court of the United States ‘legalized’ abortion on demand and this country has never recovered from the damage inflicted on our moral fiber as tens of millions of children have been sacrificed on the ‘altar of self’ […]