Bob Van Oosterhout

Introduction Daily Dose of Love
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Daily Dose of Love

Contemplating the Story of Jesus Throughout the Year


“Whoever does not love, does not know God, for God is love.” (2 John 4:8).

This statement is the essence of Christianity.   God is love and he is our creator.  John tells us that the only way we can know God is to love.  We were created from love, to love.

Love is the essence of who we are and what we are supposed to do.  It is the meaning and purpose of our lives.  Love is our challenge and our destiny.  In the next line in the same letter, John states:

“God sent his only son into the world so that we might live through him.  In this is love.”  (2 John 4:9-10a).

Jesus came from God’s love so that we might love.   But what does love mean?  How do we tell the difference between love that is true and deep and a passing fancy that makes us feel good for a little while?

Love cannot be seen, measured, weighed, or logically broken down into component parts.  There are no recipes or directions for how to love.  We are not even sure we know it when we see it.

Simply stated, love is the most misused and misunderstood concept in our modern world.  It is used to sell cars and toothpaste.  It seems to come and go, and change as often as the weather in Michigan.  People who become bored in relationships say they love their partner but are not “in love.”  What happens when we are “in love?”  Do we ever run out of love?  How do we find it, sustain it, and maintain it?

There are no questions about any aspect of our universe that are more important than these.  People who are terminally ill and face the end of their life on this earth consistently focus more on love than all the knowledge, possessions, accomplishments, or impressions they may have gained during their lives.  The Apostle Paul wrote:

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.”  (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)

When asked which were the greatest of the commandments, Jesus said:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the greatest and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”  (Matthew 22:37-40)

It is clear that love is supremely important, but that does not help us to grasp what love is or how we are to practice it in our daily lives.  Human limitations prevent us from ever fully knowing and understanding God.  Since God is love, does that imply that we can never fully apprehend the meaning of love?

People of faith believe that scripture is the word of God.  The gospels are the story of Jesus’ life on earth.  Since Jesus was sent into the world “so we might live through him,” it would seem that the best place to learn about the meaning and purpose of love would be the story of Jesus’ life.

The Daily Dose of Love is structured to allow an entire year to read, reflect, and try to discern how to live the message of love in the gospels.  The four gospels have been combined into one story and divided into three-hundred-sixty-five passages, one for each day of the year.  A brief reflection on a message about love for each passage has been written along with a question for further reflection and/or discussion and a short prayer that can be repeated throughout each day.

The gospels contain a universal message that personally addresses every person who encounters them with an open mind and heart.  Bishop Ken Untener referred to scripture as “the living word of God.”  Each of the four gospels tells a somewhat different story of Jesus’ life and love for us.  Bishop Ken described the gospels as four portraits of the same person painted by different artists.  On any give day, The Daily Dose of Love may include passages from one, two, three, or all four gospel writers depending on which author included that part of the story in their message.   Reading each part of the story from different perspectives helps us to realize that God speaks to each of us in different ways and that it is only by coming together than we gain a larger and clearer vision of his universal message of love.

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