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.

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…” […]

To Love as the Lord Loves

“Christ at 33” (detail) by Hofmann

“As I have loved you, so you also should love one another” (John 13:34). In John 14:15, Jesus tells his apostles, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”  In this passage, Jesus is preparing His Apostles for His departure and the coming of the Holy Spirit. After three long years with them, these are among His final words […]

Surrender, Take Courage, Do not be Troubled

"Christ the Consolator" (detail) by Carl Heinrich Bloch (1834-1890) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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 […]

The Powerful Intercession of Mary and the Saints

"The Virgin at Prayer" (detail) by Sassoferrato

Solemnity of All Saints Today is the Solemnity of All Saints, a celebration of those who have died and attained Heaven. We will remember those who are undergoing purgation tomorrow on All Souls Day. Today, I would like to look at the Catholic practice of asking the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints in heaven to intercede for us. I […]

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 […]