Into the Deep

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

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

Strengthen Your Eucharistic Faith

  Four Sundays ago, I mentioned here that the liturgical calendar of the Church was taking a short break from the Gospel of Mark, which we had been hearing this year at Sunday Mass. Next Sunday, we will return to Mark’s Gospel. Counting today, we have spent five consecutive Sundays hearing from the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel. Its content has […]

"The Stoning of St. Stephen" (detail) by Rembrandt"The Stoning of St. Stephen" (detail) by Rembrandt

What the Bible really says about calling Catholic priests “Father”

“Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven” (Matthew 23:9). Throughout history, including that time since the days when Jesus uttered these words, we have referred to others on earth as father. This title is used in different contexts. For example: In our secular lives, we refer to others as father: City Fathers when […]

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

Why We 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 Saturday. Here in the United Staes, the assumption is ordinarily a Holy Day of Obligation, but because it falls on Saturday this year, the obligation to attend Mass is abrogated: “Whenever January 1, the solemnity […]

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

Suffering Transfigured by Love

The love in which God embraces each of us is one of the great truths revealed to us throughout salvation history, but especially through and in Jesus Christ. To come to a better and deeper understanding of this love, we are continually invited by God into a deeper communion of prayer with Him… to come to know Him as He […]

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

How to Find Peace for a Troubled Heart

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 […]

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

Jesus Reveals the Real Presence in John’s Gospel

During this Liturgical Year (Year B), the gospel readings at Mass on Sundays are taken primarily from the Gospel of Mark. However, beginning this weekend, we will spend four consecutive Sundays hearing from the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John and the focus will be on the Eucharist. To set the scene, we need to look back to last […]

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How to Be a Better Disciple

There is a section of Luke’s Gospel known as the Travel Narrative. In this section, Jesus and his disciples journey to Jerusalem where redemption will occur and the Church will be born. St. Luke uses nearly ten chapters (9:51-19:27) to record this journey to Jerusalem. Along the way, Jesus prepares his disciples for the work to which he has called […]

Nancy Bauer / Shutterstock.com
(Click for full image.)Nancy Bauer / Shutterstock.com (Click for full image.)

Get to know the First Saturday Devotion

As so many of the saints know, devotion to Mary is a key trait of those Christians who are most perfectly conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. “The greatest saints, those richest in grace and virtue will be the most assiduous in praying to the most Blessed Virgin, looking up to her as the perfect model to imitate and as […]

"The Raising of Jairus' Daughter" (detail) by Repin"The Raising of Jairus' Daughter" (detail) by Repin

Do not be Afraid to Touch Jesus

The Gospel for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) comes from Mark 5:21-43 and consists of the accounts of two miracles Jesus performed. Jairus, a synagogue official desperate to save the life of his daughter, seeks out Jesus. On His way with Jairus to restore his daughter, Jesus encounters the woman with a hemorrhage. Mark frequently interrupts one story to […]