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.

A Second Chance

"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 […]

God Seeks 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 […]

Mary, Mother of God is a Christ-centered Teaching

"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. […]

Remembering the Holy Innocents

"The Flight to Egypt" (detail) by Carl Spitzweg

On the fourth day of our Christmas celebration, the Church reminds us that not everyone is joyful; that there exist those who are not of goodwill who do not wish to receive the season’s glad tidings. Today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents in which the Church recalls and honors those baby boys whose lives were taken in a […]

Lessons from the Holy Family

Holy-Family"The Holy Family with dog" (detail) by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Holy Family The Feast of the Holy Family celebrates the holiness and joy of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph of Nazareth. By celebrating this feast during the Christmas season, the Church wants us to see the important link between the birth of our Savior and the family. Pope Francis has said of the Feast of the Holy […]

Mary, Ark of the New Covenant, Leads Us to Her Son

"The Visitation" (detail) by Albertinell

Christmas is just two days away. Hopefully, we have all completed our shopping and decorating. Our children have all mailed their letters to Santa! Many of us are completing preparations for our families to gather together to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child. I just learned that the Saturday before Christmas is called Panic Saturday and nets retailers more […]

Discover God’s Plan Just for You

"King David in Prayer" (detail) Pieter de Grebber [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

When God has a Different Plan I think most of us can remember an occasion when we had something all planned out. It might have been something relatively minor or it might have concerned something of greater significance to our lives. And then, everything changed and the plans we had made had to be set aside for a while or […]

Immaculate Mary—Our Tainted Nature’s Solitary Boast

"Esquilache Immaculate Conception" (detail) by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

From my earliest years, the memories of my mother’s prayers to Our Blessed Mother and her praise and thanksgiving offered to Jesus, her Lord, still travel across the decades of time and touch my heart, especially on each feast day dedicated to Our Lady. My mom would tell me over the years that Our Blessed Mother’s love for me was […]

Essential Lessons From John the Baptist

"The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist" by Caravaggio [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way; the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight’” (Mark 1:2-3). St. John the Baptist is proclaimed by Jesus as the greatest of the Old Testament Prophets sent to prepare […]

A Practical Plan for Advent 2020

The Annunciation (detail) by Caravaggio

If we lose our focus on the Lord, neither his coming in past history, nor his coming at the end of time will have much meaning for us. We will be like the people who Isaiah describes, “There is no one that calls upon thy name, that bestirs himself to take hold of thee” (Isaiah 64:7). “Take heed, watch and pray…” […]