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 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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

God’s Greatest Gift

"Adoration of the Shepherds" (detail) by Gerard van Honthorst [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) Merry Christmas! I love holidays. I love family. The two just seem to go together, don’t they?. Some holidays are joyful gatherings, some not so much. We are all too human, as the saying goes. But I say, give me holidays and family any day; warts and […]

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 […]

Life-Changing Lessons from St. John the Baptist

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

“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’  For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’” (Matthew 3:1-3) St. John the Baptist is […]

Stay Awake This Advent

Photograph © by Lisa Missenda | Shutterstock

“Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come” (Matthew 24:42). This verse is part of a larger passage (Matthew 24:1 — 25:30) where Jesus speaks about the time before his second coming—that is the time in which we all live. Of course this is immediately followed with the separation of the sheep and […]

Qualities of Life in the Kingdom

Mission Dolores Altar (San Francisco) Photograph © by Andy Coan —Christopher West

Today is the final Sunday on the Church’s annual liturgical calendar. Not only is Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, not only is he our brother and friend, Jesus Christ is our God and our King. And so we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe—or Christ the King. This celebration is a recent addition to […]