Interview with Author Robert Margetts

Special thanks to Robert Margetts, the author of Back from the Abyss – A Spiritual Solution to Nuclear War, for this interview:

1. Please tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to write this book.

I’m a retired widower with eight children, fourteen grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. I reside in New Jersey. I came to feel uncomfortable with my service (USAF) after a powerful conversion experience to Jesus in the Catholic Church. Eventually, I had to be true to my conscience and refused to continue as an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Crew Commander. I was given a trial and dismissed from service for incompetence. That was the spark to write this book because the charge was trumped up and totally unjust.

2.     How did you come up with the title of Back from the Abyss: A Spiritual Solution to Nuclear War?

I was struggling for a title. After a friend read my book, he suggested, Back from the Abyss. A Spiritual Solution to Nuclear War. 

3.    Your book is a powerful testament to your life experience in the armed forces and your choices as God changed your “heart of stone to a heart of flesh.” Can you briefly tell us how God worked in your life to soften your heart of stone?

After my conversion to the Catholic faith, I was open to experiencing more of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit led me to deep healing and deliverance. The only thing that changed my heart was the Holy Spirit. He heard my desire to be set free and heard my prayer, and did His wonders on me.

4.     Why do you think everyone should read your book?

The nuclear war threat is very real. We are at a place where action must be taken to avoid the threat we all face. Prayer is a very real solution.  I know that prayer has given us time. If we use our time for prayer and turn to God, there will be a time of peace. On top of this, atonement needs to be offered for the sixty-five million unborn children who have perished through abortion since 1973.

5.     In the synopsis of your book, you write that we “desperately need to face the nuclear age with the heart of God and not with our own thinking…”  Can you give us concrete examples of how we can face the nuclear age with the heart of God?

Jesus gave us the key to bring His love to others, that is, mercy, forgiveness, and respect. Jesus sat down at the table with the sinner. We should do the same, especially since we are sinners too.

Thank you, Robert, for the wonderful interview!

Buy Robert’s book here.

Pope Benedict XVI Servant of Love

My latest column at Catholic Mom is a review of this beautiful new book.

The foundation of all true culture is the search for God and the readiness to listen to him.” (Pope Benedict XVI, Sept 2008)

Benedict XVI, Servant of Love is the new commemorative book published by Ignatius Press and edited by Magnificat. The recent death of our beloved Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was not unexpected. However, the former Joseph Ratzinger led a holy and exemplary life, and I believe he is on his way to heaven (if he isn’t already there).

From the publisher:  Through stunning photographs, glorious art, insightful commentary, and his own inspiring words, this beautiful deluxe commemorative book celebrates the extraordinary life and legacy of Pope Benedict XVI. Lavishly illustrated. Special Commemorative Edition, edited by Magnificat.

This is a beautiful book that includes three different parts: Benedict XVI, the Man; Benedict XVI’s Thought; and Praying with Pope Benedict XVI.  Readers will enjoy this pope’s inspiring life and legacy from infancy to his becoming pope. He was born on a snowy Holy Thursday and had a great love of music from a young age. We learn about his family’s experiences under Hitler, and his father’s moving the family to Traunstein near Salzburg to distance them from the Nazis. He served a short time in his obligatory stint in the German Army and left in the spring of 1945. He was eventually taken prisoner by the Americans along with 50,000 other men in a vast outdoor camp. Every day, he took comfort in being able to see the steeple of the Ulm Cathedral, as well as the Masses in the camp. In June of 1945, he was given his liberation certificate. From there, he and his brother entered the seminary. Two professors influenced him: Gottlieb Sohngen, who was a pianist like Joseph, and Friedrich Wilhelm Maier, who was a professor of New Testament exegesis.

On the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul in 1951, Joseph and his brother received priestly ordination. There were many trials for Fr. Joseph Ratzinger (at his first parish, as a new professor, through Vatican II, and during student protests and riots in 1968), but he tried to remain positive. He enjoyed returning home to visit his family. His nostalgia for home continued throughout the rest of his life, even after his parents and sister were deceased. He was consecrated as an archbishop in 1977 and, within a few months, was appointed a cardinal by Pope Paul VI.

He endured trials, but his achievements were greater. Before becoming Pope Benedict XVI, he worked closely with Pope Saint John Paul II. He was the producer of the new Catechism of the Catholic Church, published in 1992. He wrote many books during this time. He was a strong proponent of fasting, not just during Lent, but year-round.

When his close friend Pope John Paul II passed away, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger celebrated the funeral Mass and, a few weeks later, was elected the new pope, Pope Benedict XVI.

Pope Benedict XVI wrote three encyclicals, many spiritual reflections, seven apostolic exhortations, and over 60 books. Excerpts of many of them are included in Part 2, Benedict XVI’s Thought, and Part 3, Praying with Benedict XVI. As an author myself, Pope Benedict XVI has always been an inspiration.

When traveling to Italy in 2007, my husband and I were privileged to pray the Angelus with Pope Benedict XVI and thousands of pilgrims in Rome. We listened to the Holy Father as he spoke in several languages from the balcony of his apartment above St. Peter’s Square one Sunday in March. Being present and hearing Pope Benedict XVI’s words was one of the highlights of our trip (even though we were quite far away from the pope, see below).

As Catholics, we believe in the intercession of those who have gone before us. We can be comforted knowing that the Holy Father is praying and interceding for us.

Pope Benedict XVI’s contribution to the Catholic faith and his service to the Church is joyfully celebrated in this book. Stunning photographs, beautiful artwork, and interesting commentary make this an extraordinary book. I learned so much about Pope Benedict XVI. Now that he has gone to his reward, this is an ideal keepsake for this extraordinary pope. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about and celebrate his life of service.

Pope Benedict XVI, servant of love, pray for us.

Copyright 2023 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Back From the Abyss #Review #prolife

Amazon Synopsis: Three tragic events happened during my lifetime. First, there was the treacherous attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese in 1941 when I was eleven years old. This was followed by the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki when I was fifteen. The third event was the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon when I was 71. These three events are part of my history, as they are for many of you, and are very much the motivation for writing this book and what led me to stand in conscience against the use of weapons of mass destruction while still a member of the USAF. God changed my heart of stone to a heart of flesh. Our hearts have been hardened and wounded by these tragic events and by the painful events of our own personal lives. We desperately need to face the nuclear age with the heart of God, not with our own thinking but with God’s. Only then can we experience an age of peace on earth.

My review: This extraordinary book is part memoir and part spiritual conversion story. The author, a retired United States Air Force officer, had a crisis of conscience when asked to be ready, willing and able to drop an atomic bomb on targets that could kill innocent civilians. The catastrophic effects of the bombs on the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were brutal and long-lasting. Those who weren’t killed immediately were left in agonizing physical and emotional pain for many years.

The author makes the parallel between the atomic bombs’ destruction of innocent lives with the acceptance of the destruction of unborn children through abortion. That our (American) complicity in the use of the atomic bomb in many ways led to the murder of nearly 3,000 people on September 11, 2001.

When Margetts revealed that he, in good conscience, could not be called upon to drop one of these bombs, he was ridiculed and eventually driven out of the Air Force.

The author doesn’t just tell his story, he offers ways to atone for the tragedy of the atomic bombs and for the numbing of our country’s conscience in allowing the daily slaughter of tens of thousands of unborn children. Although the Supreme Court recently made Roe v Wade unconstitutional, many states now allow unborn children to be slaughtered right up to and including the moment of birth.

Reading this book will help anyone who believes that the atomic bombs were actually necessary in winning the war against Japan understand how this was not the case. This book will also give us steps to spiritually move forward and atone for these grievous sins.

I highly recommend this book to everyone!

An Open Book – February 2023

I’m joining Carolyn Astfalk and Catholic Mom for An Open Book. Here’s what I’ve been reading and/or working on for the past month.

Summer at West Castle by Theresa Linden

Amazon Synopsis: College student Caitlyn Summer arrives at the Wests’ castle-like house to fill in for their live-in maid. After a recent decision blows her vision of the future, this ideal job and the peaceful surroundings are just what she needs to seek God’s will for her life. That is, until Jarret West, not wanting a repeat of past mistakes, backs out of a summer-long field study overseas and returns home. The two have never gotten along, and unforgettable baggage from the past makes it hard even to be cordial. While Jarret’s faults convince Caitlyn he hasn’t changed, she forces herself to offer kindness. Her act of mercy puts them on an unexpected path where Caitlyn is challenged to look beneath the surface and Jarret struggles to trust that God wills good for him.

Note: to avoid spoilers, read this story only after reading Anyone but Him.

My review: I thoroughly enjoyed this beautiful prequel of Anyone But Him and was so very sorry to see the story end. When I read Anyone But Him a few years ago, I had hoped the author would write the prequel of how this unlikely couple fell in love. Summer at West Castle does not disappoint, and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a clean but compelling romance! 

Ashes Visible & Invisible by Catholic Teen Authors

Now available from Catholic Teen Books (My short story is highlighted below):

Finishing the Journey: When Liz’s faith journey hits a roadblock, will an unexpected detour and chance encounter set her back on track?

Follow Me: A teen’s future was all set-before his tragic loss. But his best friend’s secret past just might save it.

Take Up Your Cross: Justin’s religion is outlawed. When an unbeliever asks him about the meaning of life, what can he say?

A Big Ask: Could God be asking Paul to sacrifice a piece of himself for Lent–literally?

Lent Royal & Ancient: A modern American teen discovers what faith, life and love are like in seventeenth-century Scotland.

No Greater Love: Teenager Lexie Dugan struggles to understand the sacrifice of Lent when she’s asked to help take care of her siblings while her pregnant mother is on bed rest.

A Very Jurassic Lent: When a risky Ash Wednesday mission to sterilize T. rex eggs goes wrong, fasting is the least of Joshua, Darryl, and Harry’s worries.

Lucy and the Forsaken Path: A medieval girl stranded on a forsaken path confronts threats from without and turmoil from within.

Bread Alone: Struggling with loss, hunger, and temptation, Ethan finds himself walking in the steps of Jesus.

Prepare the Way: Asher’s desire to prepare for the Messiah intensifies after he’s robbed by bandits, but would fighting alongside the Zealots be the best way?

The Saint Michael Chaplet – A Divine Catechesis on the Angels and Gifts of Heaven

By Carol Puschaver

Amazon Synopsis: What if an angel … were to teach you a prayer to honor the Angels? Not just any angel, mind you, and no ordinary prayer, either. Too impossible to believe?

Well, consider … St. Michael the Archangel, Prince of the Heavenly Host, revealed the Chaplet that bears his name to a Carmelite religious in 1751. As this book makes clear, he did much, much more than teach a formula of pious words, presenting instead a wonderment of divine catechesis on the nine celestial angel choirs. The author’s deeply insightful meditations on the Archangel’s teaching are bound to encourage a fresh and finely nuanced perspective on the angels, and also inspire a far deeper, richer appreciation of these marvelous beings who, among many, many wondrous deeds, guard [us] in all [our] ways. (Psalm 91. 10)

You do believe in angels, …don’t you?

My review: This is a beautiful book written by my friend Carol Puschaver. If you want to read more about St. Michael, the St. Michael Chaplet, and the Angels, this is the book for you. God’s people have been given a great gift in Saint Michael, protector and intercessor. The demons would like you to believe that they don’t exist. Not only do they exist, but they are constantly trying to turn God’s people away from Him. Highly recommend!

Into the Mind of Infinity by Joe Livingston

Amazon Synopsis: The author received a powerful spiritual experience, and this book is the result of that experience. It brings science and religion together to prove the existence of God.

My review: This is a beautiful little book that seeks to prove the existence of God. Many great points are made from a scientific standpoint, and it is definitely worthwhile reading.

Coming on Valentine’s Day from FQP:

Stitch in the Ditch (Mibs Monahan Mysteries #3) by Joan L. Kelly

Synopsis: When the curator of the Gregory Tuppence Museum is stabbed to death with an antique Toledo steel dagger, Lieutenant Jace Trueblood and his team of detectives work diligently to track down the killer.   They soon discover evidence that the murder was connected to the forgery and theft of valuable items from the museum.

Along with investigating the curator’s death, Jace, with the help of his intuitive fiancée, Mibs Monahan, search for the person providing fake identifications to high school students.  Fake licenses directly contributed to DUI accidents, resulting in injuries and death.

Despite the challenges and activities of their busy lives, the couple finds joy in preparing for their upcoming wedding.  However, that joy is disrupted when a DNA test shatters Mibs’ life.  This new information has her wondering who she really is and what she has to do with a twenty-year-old kidnapping.