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Saturday, June 7, 2014


                                                  A BLESSED EXPERIENCE 

     It was 7:30 on a Thursday night. The moon was full and all was quiet on my seventh floor, 29-patient psychiatric ward.  I was the Charge Nurse:  I had two psychiatric technicians to assist me.  I was charting at the desk.  “Excuse me.  I’m looking for Mrs. Anna McPhearson.”  I looked up at this gentle-faced, kind woman of about 40 years.  She looked at me in her colorful winter attire and smiled, told me she was Chaplain Irena and remarked surprisingly that the unit was extremely quiet, the most serene she had ever experienced.  She went on to say that she had visited countless hospital wards in the evenings and never had she felt the calm peacefulness of this unit.  Chaplain Irena obviously sensed a spirit of calm and serenity, a spirit of prayer and quiet confidence.  She asked how it was that this quietness and stability can be reached. I told her I was a Christian and I prayed not only for my patients’ well-being but for guidance in caring for them, for organizational skills to meet their needs efficiently and effectively, and for the Holy Spirit’s leading in my deed and my word.  She did not know that the unit was filled with probably the most serious variety of troubled souls that I had ever cared for simultaneously…all in different stages of their diseases. The unit was comprised of alcohol and drug abusers, those who had attempted suicide , the physically compromised and mentally tormented, the psychotic, the wounded and depressed and suicidal and on...and on.

     The night was long and filled with treatments, assessments, monitoring, medications and walking and running, supervising, documenting, and keeping a watchful eye on those in my care.   I often felt as though I could almost inhale the sweet peace of God’s presence while I cared for the sick.  I would come to a point in the evening where I had completed each patient's 'nursing care.  At that point, the Lord was in charge, completely, keeping them safe, watching over them as I charted and prepared for the oncoming staff for the next shift.  Chaplain Irena said that she came to the unit to visit a patient and that she did.  She will never know, however, that the message she carried to me was one of excitement and calm all rolled up into one feeling

     Chaplain Irena and I had shared so much of God’s love and His peace and His promise.  I’ll always remember this lady, a lady who passed through my unit to let me know in her own way that my relationship with the Lord had a distinctive impact not only on her but on my caring for the sick.  It was as though she came to me personally, as a messenger from God. There was a messenger on that cold December night, who spoke kind words of affirmation, with a smile and a sense of understanding, with a calm assurance that she saw something different on my unit that night.  I thank God for the confirmation statement of my mission, my calling, through the sweet Chaplain Irena ~ that the peace of God on that unit was visible to someone else, aside from me and that someone else spoke to me about the palpable presence of that peace.…And I thank my God and my Savior for this blessed experience of His love and of His grace.                                          
 © October, 2012
 Carol A. Castagna
 Library of Congress


Monday, June 2, 2014

'I Will Dwell in the Shadow of the Almighty' -


Psalm 42: 1-2

As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.  My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.

Psalm 91: 1-2
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the Shadow of the Almighty.  I will say 
of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my
God, in whom I trust."

Psalm 42: 8 
The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime. 
And at night His song shall be with me.

Psalm 93: 4 
The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, than the mighty waves
of the sea. 

Exodus 20: 2  For I am the Lord, your God.

Psalm 104: 1-2- 3
Oh Lord, my God, You are very great:  You are clothed with honor and majesty, Who covers Yourself with light as with a garment...Who makes the clouds His chariot,  Who walks on the wings of the wind.. Psalm 103: 3-4  Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies...

             Jeremiah 31: 3                                                                                                The Lord said:
             I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.

The Lord comforts us with His Word.  He knows that our soul does not rest until He

inhabits us, that we long for and wait for Him to fill that empty place in our lives.  So He 

welcomes us to find shelter in Him - to find 'rest in the Shadow of the Almighty.'   He promises

His lovingkindness by day and His song by night.  He is our mighty and gracious God in whom

we trust and in whom we rest.  He is our place of refuge.  This is why we love Him.  This is why 

we praise Him.  He has declared Himself our God because He loves us.

Psalm 106: 1
Praise the Lord!  Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!  For His mercy endures forever.
All Scripture from the Holy Bible, NKJV

carol castagna (c) 6/2/2014