What is Ruah?

When we prayed about a name to encompass our mission, my mind kept turning to this one Scripture passage: 

“The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”. (John 3: 8)

I sat with that passage again and again until I settled on that word: wind. And I knew almost immediately that the word was Ruah

Ruah, (pronounced in Hebrew Ruach), is the Hebrew word translated as God’s Spirit. However, the word is also translated as breath, air, and wind in the Scriptures, reminding each of us of the physicalness of God’s presence in the world.

When we prayed about our name, I realized that stories have the power to engage us with this physical realm in a way that other forms of theological teaching simply can’t. Because of their ability to humanize us, listener and storyteller, stories can break down the walls which often separate us, help us to develop empathy and compassion, and ultimately draw us together in our shared humanity. 

In our journey through the liturgical seasons of Advent and Lent, we call upon the Holy Spirit to guide our storytellers, our listeners, and all faithful Catholics to unite in prayer and draw closer as the Body of Christ through the power of stories.