One Led By The Spirit Compared To Wind?


Salvete, omnes!

There is a verse in the Gospels that states that one led by the Holy Spirit is compared to wind as one knows not where it is coming or where it is going. What, exactly, is the Catholic understanding of this verse? This verse has always rather perplexed me. Any good Catholic commentaries on this verse? Any personal thoughts/opinions on this (if an infallible interpretation hasn’t already been given)?

Thanks for any help. Appreciated!


It’s a call to be available. To whomever is in need, whomever needs ministering to, to wherever God wills that you go, in His name, to be the hands and feet of Christ. When you awaken in the morning, you never know what He has in store for you. But we must be willing and open. Ready to act on a moment’s notice.


It might be insightful to know that “Spirit” is from the Latin word “spiritus,” which is itself a translation of the Greek word “pneuma” which means breath (think pneumonia). The Holy Spirit is the Breath of God.

Imagine yourself talking. There are three “parts” of this situation: a Speaker, a Spoken (a Word), and the Breath of air that results from your speaking. We might say that the Breath proceeds from the Speaker and/through the Spoken. This is the Trinity hidden in Genesis: the Father is the Speaker, the Son/Logos/Word is the Spoken, and the Spirit is the Breath, the creative power, who “stirs the waters.” But this is metaphorical…

If you cite the Bible verse that fascinates you, we can pray and meditate on it together :slight_smile:

Christi pax,


PS. On a personal note, when I hear this part of the Eucharistic Prayer IV;

Lord, look upon this sacrifice which you have given to your Church; and by your Holy Spirit, gather all who share this one bread and one cup into the one body of Christ, a living sacrifice of praise.

…I imagine a series of circular gusts of wind blowing fall leaves into a big pile :smiley:

Christi pax,



The word “Spirit” in Hebrew is “Ruach”.
the word Ruach generally means wind, breath, mind, spirit.
So Ruach can either mean wind or spirit.
It was a play on words that Jesus was using to illustrate his point.

Just as we cannot see the wind itself, we can see its effects.
Just as the scripture says, we cannot know those who follow God just by their appearance,
But we can know them by their fruits, or the effects of God’s spirit in their lives: Their love, their joy, their caring for others, their profession of faith, etc.

And we never know whose heart the Holy Spirit is touching, because we can’t see the Spirit.
But those who are moved by his spirit will do the works that the spirit is prompting them to do, and the effects of those works will be seen.


I’m of the opinion that we really don’t know where God wants us to go. We try to control our lives and say “I want to go there and do this” but God may have other plans so we need to discern and put our own self away so that we can be moved by God to be where He wants us to be and to do what He wants us to do.


The wind goes wherever God pushes it and with whatever intensity God commands of it.

The wind doesn’t question God’s plan. It doesn’t resist God and try to go a different way.

The wind flows around obstacles and pays no attention to the details of what it blows over, traveling on to where God desires.

This is an image of docility to the Holy Spirit.



DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit