“We Shall Not Weary, We Shall Not Rest”
May 1, 2023
“We shall not weary, we shall not rest, until every unborn child is protected in law and welcomed in life. We shall not weary, we shall not rest, until all the elderly who have run life’s course are protected against despair and abandonment, protected by the rule of law and the bonds of love. We shall not weary, we shall not rest, until every young woman is given the help she needs to recognize the problem of pregnancy as the gift of life. We shall not weary, we shall not rest, as we stand guard at the entrance gates and the exit gates of life, and at every step along the way of life, bearing witness in word and deed to the dignity of the human person—of every human person.”
These words of Fr. Richard John Neuhaus have a particular strength for us as pro-life Nebraskans. In fact, because of their strength, I suggest you slowly and prayerfully read them to yourself one more time.
Last Thursday, the Nebraska Legislature failed preborn babies with beating hearts. Falling one vote short of defeating a filibuster, the Unicameral failed to advance to the third and final round of debate LB626, the Nebraska Heartbeat Act. This momentary, yet momentous, setback sent shockwaves across the state. Pro-lifers immediately mourned the thousands of babies with beating hearts and their mothers that will continue to be abandoned to abortion.
Yet, in all of this, we remain a people of hope, a people of life, who march forward, day by day, doing everything in our power – by the grace of God – to live out that Gospel of Life which has been so beautifully given to us by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
If we settle for anything less than this standard of marching forward in hope, then we have not taken to heart the promises of our faith. That promise is victory. This victory does not always come on our time but on the time of the Lord of all history. As Father Neuhaus so eloquently stated: “Because He has overcome, we shall overcome. We do not know when; we do not know how. God knows, and that is enough. We know the justice of our cause, we trust in the faithfulness of His promise, and therefore we shall not weary, we shall not rest.”
Does this mean we cannot be sad about the tragedy we witnessed? Of course we can be sad. In fact, sorrow felt to the core of our souls is the most appropriate response to the defeat of LB626.
Yet, I am reminded of the words in the closing prayer of the Divine Mercy Chaplet: “[L]ook kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.”
The beauty of the pro-life movement has always been to live to fight another day, and that is precisely where we now stand, again, in Nebraska. We take our losses, and we learn from them. We better ourselves and our strategy through these challenges. We allow these moments to be opportunities to rely even more heavily on the Lord rather than on our own efforts.
Last Thursday’s defeat underscored another important lesson: the dead hand of Roe v. Wade is still reaching up from the grave. As we knew, with the overturn of Roe, there are still hearts and minds that require conversion. We have a serious obligation to be evangelists for the pro-life cause to a culture that has bought in – hook, line, and sinker – to the culture of death.
But, again, do “not despair nor become despondent.” Instead, rely on the Lord with all your heart, mind and soul. Allow the Lord of history to direct our next steps so we may soon be victorious in saving babies and moms from abortion.
As a final note in all of this, I call your attention to the death of Dr. LeRoy Carhart, the infamous abortionist in Bellevue. Dr. Carhart died last Friday, April 28, which so happens to be the feast of Saint Dr. Gianna Beretta Molla, the patroness of mothers, physicians, and preborn children. Please join me in praying that Dr. Carhart made a deathbed conversion and repented of his many callous years of aborting preborn babies and harming mothers and fathers in so many ways, be it physically, spiritually, emotionally or psychologically. I pray that St. Gianna’s intercession pulled him into the Heavenly heights. And I pray that he was greeted – with joy – by the many babies he aborted who never saw the light of day in this life but see the Light of Glory for all eternity. May God have mercy on Dr. Carhart, and may the Lord have mercy on each and every one of us!
Tom Venzor is executive director of the Nebraska Catholic Conference, with headquarters in Lincoln. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.