Into the Deep

Into the Deep offers practical insight and encouragement for being a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ.  Deacon Bickerstaff draws from Sacred Scripture, Church teaching and personal testimony to help readers life the faith throughout the day. Each week, he reflects and teaches on a passage from the bible, a truth of the faith, a Person of God, an event in the life of Christ or his saints, in a way that resonates with readers more important questions about life.

When All Creation Held its Breath

The Annunciation (St. Gabriel and the Blessed Virgin Mary) by Paolo de Matteis [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Moment There is a singular moment 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—the Incarnation. On March 25th of each Liturgical Year, we remember the event that took place—the moment when the Blessed Virgin Mary gave her fiat to God’s request that […]

Pray That You May See

"Christ Healing the Blind Man" by Eustache Le Sueur [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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 […]

Jesus Offers You Living Water

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

The Gospel from the Third Sunday of Lent (Year A), John 4:5-42, is the story of the encounter of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well.  For the Elect (those preparing for Baptism at the Easter Vigil), this gospel passage is central to their journey as they undergo the First Scrutiny at today’s Mass. This passage is filled with […]

Suffering Transfigured by Love

"The Transfiguration" (detail) by Raphael - Alvesgaspar / CC BY-SA

Reflection on the Mass readings for the Second Sunday of Lent (Year A) — Genesis 12:1-4; Psalms 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22; Second Timothy 1:8-10; Matthew 17:1-9. 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 […]

What Does the Bible Teach About Fasting?

"Into the Wild" © by Jef Murray—(Click sketch for artist's gallery.)

Lent has begun, so I thought we should revisit self-denial. Fasting and other forms of self-denial, as spiritual practices of materially subduing and controlling the physical appetites of the body, help us, by God’s grace, to enable the soul to more perfectly and freely pray.  This leads to a deeper union with God and thus we become better stewards of the gifts […]

We Owe Each Other a Terrible Loyalty

St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church, Roswell, Georgia—Photography © by Michael Bickerstaff

Looking back at my childhood, I am thankful for the many gifts the good God sent my way in the form of people who knew and loved Him and chose to share that knowledge and love with me. There are so many examples from the good Catholic sisters and priests who taught me to my Presbyterian friend, James, who announced […]

Living the Faith in Ordinary Moments

Candlemas and the Presentation of the Lord have already arrived! Christmas Day was forty days ago. We’ve been in the season of Ordinary Time on the liturgical calendar for three weeks. Before we know it, Lent will be upon us. That’s what happens in this earthly life—we move through time. We mark moments in time that represent important events. Time […]

A New Start

"The Baptism of Christ" (detail) by Pietro Perugino [Public domain]

The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord Most of us have felt on occasion that things were going so badly that we just wished we could start all over! A second chance! Or maybe your life is not going that well and you realize that you are just not the person you should be. I would bet that most […]

The Epiphany—God Has Come for You

"Adoration of the Magi" (detail) by Jan de Bray [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

OUR SEARCH FOR GOD It is likely that each of us here actively seeks the Lord. Jesus instructs us to seek Him, saying, “Seek and you will find.” Man and woman’s search for God is a recurring story through the ages as we try to discover the meaning of our lives. While meditating on the Fifth Joyful Mystery of the […]

God Chose Mary to be His Mother

"Madonna and Child" (detail) by Sassoferrato | Restored Traditions

The teaching that Mary is God’s mother was proclaimed to teach us that Jesus is true man AND true God. Each January 1 (the Octave of Christmas), the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.  I receive more comments and questions from non-Catholics, and even some Catholics, about the Church’s Marian practices and teachings than just about any other topic. […]