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The Demontreville Jesuit retreat house during Fr. Ed Sthokal, SJ’s, 300th retreat as director Photo: Bob Conroy
Collaborating with God

By Fr. Ed Sthokal, SJ

Among my favorite authors is the Jesuit Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955)  —  who envisioned human beings as collaborators with God in the ongoing creation of the world and, at the same time, collaborators with Christ in the ongoing redemption of the human race.

All this was made possible because in creating human beings, God endowed us with certain talents, skills, and abilities — abilities to fashion, to design, to put together, to build. This would make people creators with a small “c.” To create, one needs the necessary materials. Sometimes these materials are at hand. At other times, they have to be discovered. 

This can take a long time. For example, about the turn of the twentieth century, steel, oil, and electricity were discovered relatively simultaneously. It wasn’t long before large skyscrapers began to appear in every large city. Cement highways came to crisscross the country. The old lamplighter was well on his way to extinction. 


Don't miss A Jesuit's Journey
by Fr. Ed Sthokal, SJ as 
he reflects on his
many years of ministry


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Not every person is called to build planes, trains, or space stations, but every person is required to build his or her own life (Chardin, Divine Milieu, pages 60-61). Weaving Chardin’s thoughts into a retreat does not detract from it, but can greatly enhance it. The same holds true for modern physics.

Finally, each person is given talents, skills, abilities, and a certain amount of time in which to put his or her life all together — physically, intellectually, spiritually. That is what life is about. That is what a retreat is about. Putting it all together. 

Father Ed Sthokal, SJ, a former retreat director at Demontreville Jesuit Retreat House in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. He now resides at a senior Jesuit healthcare community.

Return to the Jesuits Magazine Fall Winter 2017 Magazine Index





Recent News

August 21, 2018 – As we reckon with the Grand Jury report on sexual abuse by priests in Pennsylvania and the failures of bishops to protect the children entrusted to their care, our hearts and prayers—first and foremost—are with the victim-survivors.

December 10, 2018 — Former Johnson & Johnson executive David Smith returns home to lead school. He will succeed Fr. Mark Luedtke, SJ, on July 1, 2019.

December 1, 2018 — As members of the greater Ignatian family, we are blessed to have many prayer resources available to us. If you’re looking for something special for Advent, you may want to visit one of the following.

November 29, 2018 — Better known as Padre Melo, Ismael Moreno, SJ, is the director of the Honduran Jesuit radio station, Radio Progreso.

November 29, 2018 — Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. Robert K. McIntosh, SJ, who died on Saturday, November 24, 2018, in Waukesha, Wis. He was 78 years old. May he rest in peace.

November 27, 2018 — With the launch of the sainthood cause for Fr. Arrupe, a reflection on his legacy.

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Charis Ministries
Founded in 2000, Charis Ministries reaches those in their 20s and 30s throughout the country, nurturing their faith through retreats based in Ignatian spirituality.