Juan de Yepes, who later adopted the name “de la Cruz” (John of the Cross), is a Christian mystic, Catholic saint, writer, poet, reformer of the Carmelite order, and teacher of the Church. It may seem that this person lived in a different world: he found himself in everyday life, especially in the lives of poor people. He enjoyed working as an apprentice with stonemasons who built and refurbished the small monasteries where he lived. He found himself in the life of his monastic order, in which he almost always held the abbot position and was responsible for education. He found himself primarily in the work of spiritual guidance to those who turned to him, asking him to help them love God with all their heart. However, all these actions and events are associated with loneliness and detachment that stem from his worldview. One of John’s central ideas is the doctrine of love, which says that all people deserve the same attitude.
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One part of this idea is related to the relationship between relatives. John argued that it is necessary to love both close people and strangers equally. There should not be an exceptional love or hate among people. Moreover, family members should be valued even less because the feelings generated by this relationship interfere with a reunion with God. Thus, in John’s worldview, each person should become a stranger and devote life to worship. He stated that true love can only be given by God, but knowledge of this is not available to mere mortals. However, John did not support a bad attitude towards others as well: he urged to run away from everyone and achieve solitude. He thought that this is the only way to reach God and become genuinely spiritual.
Undoubtedly, John Cross’s ideas resonated with his religious contemporaries. On the one hand, such a worldview allows people to look at the world in a completely different way. Usually, people pay a lot of attention to those around them and various everyday events and affairs. Because of this, they do not have enough time and energy for worship. Even understanding the importance of spirituality deep inside, they forget about it, plunging into everyday life. In this way, the solitude that John was striving for can contribute to attaining the highest level of spirituality.
However, on the other hand, the importance of interaction between people cannot be denied. Undoubtedly, treating people with equal respect is an essential quality of a beneficent person. Even quarrels and conflicts can be resolved with proper understanding and willingness to interact. However, complete renunciation of interpersonal relationships and total dedication to God can affect people in different ways. This can cause disregard for the “commoners” and, as a result, a constant negative background caused by being among people. Thus, despite the importance and significance of John of the Cross’s ideas, it is necessary to use them, adapting to reality. Then serving God and surrounding people will be most productive and virtuous.