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.

More than Words are Needed

"The Parable of the Father and His Two Sons in the Vineyard" by Georg Pencz [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

A Faith Disconnected from Life I hope and pray that each of us who read these pages desires to deepen our love of God, improve our prayer life and grow in our relationship with the Lord. But too often we tend to separate our faith from our daily life and this prevents the growth we seek. The Second Vatican Council […]

Who We Are Matters

"Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard" (detail) by Rembrandt

I believe that one of the great challenges of our time derives from the loss of knowledge of who we are and what we are made for. Actually, we may know these eternal truths, but we tend to suppress them in our consciousness. In this age of consumerism, we tend to define ourselves, not by who we are and for […]

The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Photography © by Carmelite Sister of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25) But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are […]

In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me

"Christ and the Rich Young Ruler" (detail) by Heinrich Hofmann / Public domain

“In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.” Two days ago we remembered the victims of September 11, 2001 in our prayers as we marked the nineteenth anniversary of that tragic day. That is a day that I pray we never forget. However, our present year, 2020, is one of the darkest in recent memory. In the midst of a […]

The Holy Bible and Sacred Tradition Comprise the Word of God

"St. Jerome Writing" (detail) by Caravaggio

“Deacon Mike, why do we believe that it belongs to the Church to interpret the bible? Can’t we just read the bible for ourselves? The guys I do bible study with say that we (Catholics) add things that are not there.” A young man who participates in a “non-denominational” bible study asked me this question. This question comes up from time to […]

Celebrating the Assumption of Mary

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

On August 15th of each Liturgical Year, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the United States, the Assumption is a Holy Day of Obligation unless it  falls on a Saturday or Monday, in which case the precept to attend Mass is abrogated: “Whenever January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, or August 15, […]

Surrender to the Transfigured Christ

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

The Transfiguration of Christ (Matthew 17:1-9) 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 more astonished at what they had […]

Practical Ideas for Living the Faith

"Parable of the Good Samaritan" (detail) by Jan Wijnants [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

For the last several years, there has been an increased interest in practical advice on how to live the faith.  Certainly, the uncertainty and growing chaos in the secular world have something to do with this. More recently, we have seen more obvious clashes between our culture and our Church. We can look back through Salvation History and see the […]

Parables About the Kingdom

Michelangelo's "Last Judgment" on the Altar Wall in the Sistine Chapel Photography by Mark Armstrong

Two Sundays ago, we began working our way through the thirteenth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel and the seven parables that begin with the Parable of the Sower and end with the Parable of the Net. Each of these parables has a particular theme and lesson. The first four parables teach about the proclamation of the Gospel, the difficulties confronting its reception, and its […]