WHAT DOES RUAH MEAN?
“Ruah means both wind and breath – sometimes as subtle as the flap of the wings of a dove or a whisper at the mouth of a cave. Wind and breath are symbols of the Holy Spirit and we see this often in scripture. Wherever we read “wind” in the Scripture, people of biblical times also understood “spirit” and wherever we read “spirit” they also understood “wind.” It was not the Holy Spirit that gave his name to wind, but wind that gave its name to the Holy Spirit. In other words, the sign came before the reality signified, because in human experience, we do not come to know spiritual reality first, but on the contrary, we know material reality first and only then do we come to know what is spiritual.” Ultimately, breath is life.
HOW IS THIS RELATED TO THE THEOLOGY OF THE BODY?
“The body, in fact, and it alone, is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and divine. It was created to transfer into the visible reality of the world, the mystery hidden since time immemorial in God, and thus to be a sign of it.”
– Pope John Paul II
The entire Theology of the Body catechesis hinges on this point.
A sign is something that points us to a reality beyond itself and, in some way, makes that transcendent reality present to us. Wind and breath are physical realities that point us to the Holy Spirit. For human beings, wind and breath make visible the invisible mystery of the Holy Spirit, in a concrete way.Similarly, the body, which is made in the image and likeness of God, is a physical, concrete sign that makes visible that which is invisible. The sign (the body) is indispensable in “making visible” the invisible divine mystery of God.
GO WITH THE SPIRIT AT RUAH WOODS
The image of the free-blowing wind and of the whirlwind both help to convey the strength, the power, the freedom and the transcendence of the Holy Spirit. Wind, in fact, in the Bible as well as in nature, is par excellence the embodiment of a sweeping force, a force that cannot be tamed. The Holy Sprit is the one and only true strength and real power that keeps the Church alive. “What effort it takes to walk or to row against the wind! What joy to do the same thing with the wind in your favor! Try to go about doing what you do without the Holy Spirit: how heavy that is! Work with the Spirit; how very much lighter everything becomes!” Harness the power of the Holy Spirit as you learn about the Theology of the Body…If at first you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
You’ll notice the tree in our logo, with its leaves just beginning to bloom, is a springtime tree representing John Paul II’s call for a new “Springtime of Evangelization.” The pope’s call to a new evangelization is a prophetic and revolutionary calling to the Roman Catholic Church. As we reach the third millennium, Pope John Paul II is re-directing and re-focusing the Church’s priorities. John Paul II proclaims “the moment has come to commit all of the Church’s energies to a new evangelization and to the mission. No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples.” While the notion of evangelization may seem foreign to Catholics, in light of the times we are living in, the changing world scene, the deterioration of western civilization, and the weak condition of the Church in many parts of the world, Pope John Paul II’s urgent call to a new evangelization is imperative. The entire Church must come to embrace this calling and make it a normal part of Catholic life.
AND THE APPLE
Apple is prominently displayed on the tree. Theology of the Body is all about before and after the apple…before and after the fall of Adam and Eve. It is a meditation based on:
Our Origin. This concerns man’s experience of the body and sex before sin. It is based on Christ’s discussion with the Pharisees about God’s plan for marriage “in the beginning.” (see Mt 19:3-9)
Our History. This concerns man’s experience of the body and sex affected by sin yet redeemed in Christ. It is based on Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount regarding adultery committed “in the heart.” (see Mt 5:27-28)
Our Destiny. This concerns man’s experience of the body and sex in the resurrection. It is based on Christ’s discussion with the Sadducees regarding the body’s glorified state. (see Mt 22:23-33)