Karl Rahner had it right when he said that we do not have souls that get restless, but that our souls themselves are lonely caverns thirsting the infinite, deep wells of restlessness.

Ron Rolheiser, OMI

We are always a bit dissatisfied. Like Rahner, Henri Nouwen, too says that in this life, it seems that there is no such a thing as a clear-cut, pure joy, but that even our happiest moments come with a shadow, a fear, a jealousy, a restlessness. Inside us, no matter what our age, we are always somewhat lost and full of a sadness that we don’t quite know what to do with.

We reach a point in life when there is an ache and a sadness inside us that no one can still and comfort, other than the one who ultimately brought us to birth.

The Gospel of John opens very differently than the other Gospels. There are no infancy narratives. Right at the beginning, we already meet the adult Christ and the first words he speaks are a question: “What are you searching for?” John’s whole Gospel tries to answer that, but the full answer is given only at the very end, by Jesus himself.

What are we ultimately searching for? On the morning of the resurrection, Mary Magdala meets the newly risen Jesus, but she doesn’t recognize him. He approaches her and asks (in words that repeat his question at the opening of the Gospel): “What are you searching for?” She explains that she is searching for the body, the dead body, of Jesus. He says just one word to her in response: “Mary”. He calls her by her name and, in that, she recognizes him.

In Jesus’ response to Mary Magdala, we learn the answer to life’s most fundamental question: What do we ache for? Ultimately all our aching is for one thing: to hear God, lovingly and individually, call us by name.

There comes a moment in the night for each of us when nothing will console us other than this, hearing our names pronounced by the mouth of God.

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