The Sound of Silence, Simon & Garfunkel, 1964
In the immortal words of David Warren: “Among the joys of winter, up here in the land God gave Cain (“Cainada”), are our glorious “cold snaps.” That is when temperatures, which we had naïvely thought insupportable, suddenly plunge. The breeze comes into this, too. I don’t know if readers in Bali, or Gabon, can fully appreciate what I mean by a “windchill” of minus 40 degrees. (Fahrenheit or Celsius: take your pick.)”
Or even colder, appreciate -50C. After 15 years of working outdoors even in -50 degrees Celsius I can testify that windchill is for pussies. Maybe if you live on the North Slope in Alaska, or in Alert, NWT or I guess that would be Nunavut nowadays, or anywhere in northern Cainada one “gets it” when cold is the topic, or perhaps if one lives in any of the Scandinavian countries or you call home the open stretches of Boreal forest in Siberia.
Windchill might be relevant should one be running around naked at these temperatures but doesn’t play into the equation absent the naked flesh. One’s parka or vehicle skin are unaffected by windchill and anyway I can testify that at -50C there is precious little wind.
I am now happy to live and work (indoors) in a part of the country which only gets down to a balmy -30 C, cold enough to freeze the doors of ones vehicle shut but not cold enough to turn your cup of coffee into snow should you be prodigal enough to throw it into the air over your head.
One of the interesting things about cold is how the colder it gets the quieter it gets. Cold and silence seem to go together. As do silence and God, and becoming “in” God, as in “union with” God and the will of God. In silence …
In the words of Pope Benedict XVI: “… A first door opens if we read these words of the Lord carefully. The choice of the word “in the name of the Father” in the Greek text is very important: the Lord says “eis” and not “en”, that is, not “in the name” of the Trinity—as when we say that a vice-prefect speaks “on behalf” of the prefect, an ambassador speaks “on behalf” of the government: no.
It says: “eis to onoma”, that is, an immersion into the name of the Trinity, a being inserted in the name of the Trinity [that is, a silent, invisible but real and life-giving] interpenetration of being in God and of our being, a being immersed in God the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; just as it is in marriage, for example. Two people become one flesh, they become a new and unique reality with a new and unique name.” Benedict XVI, June 2012, Lectio Divina at the Basilica of Saint John Lateran
… “It is the same with priestly ordination. In silence, through the sacrament of Holy Orders, a man becomes not only an alter Christus, another Christ, but much more: he is ipse Christus, Christ himself. At that moment nothing appears externally, but in the silence, in the depths of his being, there is a true and real identification with Christ.
Saint Ambrose, in his treatise On the Mysteries, exhorts us, saying: “You saw there the deacon, you saw the priest, you saw the chief priest [i.e., the bishop]. Consider not the bodily forms, but the grace of the Mysteries.” Externally, as priests, we remain sinners, but in reality we are as though “transubstantiated” and configured to Christ himself. In the act of transubstantiation, the priest takes the role of Christ.” Robert Cardinal Sarah, . “The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise“(Kindle Locations 338-342). Ignatius Press. Kindle Edition.
Silence … blessed silence …
“God is the friend of silence. See how nature—trees, flowers, grass—grows in silence; see the stars, the moon, and the sun, how they move in silence”, Saint Teresa of Calcutta said poetically [in her book A Gift for God].