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The life and writings of John of Cross correspond to tremendous times of upheaval in both the political and religious thinking. This was the time of the Reformation in Germany, which was sweeping much of Europe and England and even threatened Spain, John's homeland. Both his poetry and his prose focus on the suffering one must often endure to in order to grow spiritually. This would have been extremely relevant to his contemporaries who were struggling with new challenges to their faith because of the reformation. His focus on the contemplative life and the mystic nature of faith helped reform the Roman Catholic Church gave many a reason not to abandon their traditional church.
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