I want to quote from the book Sacred Fire because it is so good.
‘You must try to pray so that in your prayer you open yourself in such a way that sometime perhaps not today but sometime you are able to hear God say to you ‘I love you’. These words addressed to you by God are the most important words you will ever hear because before to hear them, nothing is completely right with you but after you hear them, something will be right in your life at a very deep level. These words are simple but they capture a huge part of what we are meant to do when we go to prayer. Its ultimate intentionality is simply this : we need to open ourselves to God in such a way that we are capable of hearing God say to us individually, “I love you”
In John 1:38 we have the very first question that Jesus ever asks. ‘What are you looking for” Beneath everything else a certain search is always going on. There is always a nagging restless question: ‘What are you looking for’
Jesus answers the question at the end of Gospel John 20:15. Its on the morning of his resurrection. Mary and Magdala are looking for his dead body. He appears to Mary but she doesn’t recognise Him. Jesus essentially repeats the same question in which he opened the Gospel ‘Who is it you are looking for’
He then answers by saying her name ‘Mary’.
In doing that he tells her what she and everyone else is forever looking for – Gods voice, one to one speaking unconditional love, gently saying your name.
In the end that is what we are looking for and most need. it is what gives us substance identity beyond our own efforts to make ourselves lovable, worthwhile.