The unborn child: The ultimate “least among us”

By Dave Andrusko

As I do every day, I texted my children this morning both to celebrate the 10th birthday of our oldest grandchild and to make sure we knew who was bringing what for Thanksgiving Day dinner, just two days off. 

Before you know it, we will in the Christmas season full bore. The temptation in both cases—Thanksgiving and Christmas—is to lose sight of what they represent.

No sooner had I texted my children than I thought of a pro-life Keynote speech I once watched. Her remarks were terrific, from beginning to end, but I most remember her beginning.

She began her speech with a quote from Edward Everett Hale, who, as it happens, was the grandnephew of Nathan Hale, the Revolutionary War hero.

Once upon a time, she told us, Rev. Hale (who was a Unitarian minister) was quite famous as a man of many and enormous talents. His career spanned the mid-19th Century through the early 20th Century. Among his many accomplishments, Rev. Hale was chosen to become the Chaplain of the United States Senate in 1903.

The quote is probably familiar to some of you, its application to us obvious to all of you.

I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

I serve in several voluntary positions. As it happens, I am in charge of two of them. In one seasonal enterprise, for a long, long time, I acted as if I could do everything! In fact, I did.

Naturally, it was my wife who showed me how thoroughly I had missed the boat. By failing to offer others the opportunity to help, I cheated them of the chance to be blessed by serving the poor, the dispossessed, and the marginal.

But the more specific application for us as pro-lifers is not that sometimes you or I would rather “do it ourselves.” It is rather that each pro-lifer, from Maine to Washington, from California to Florida, has a contribution to make.

They “cannot do everything,” but a wise leader doesn’t ask them to. They realize and respect that pro-lifers tend to be very family-oriented, and they do not want these volunteers to give short-shrift to their loved ones.

But at the same time(as Hale’s quote illuminates), each of us can do something to aid the greatest movement for social justice of our time. And because our consciences have been pricked and our hearts softened by the plight of the little ones, we cannot refuse to do whatever that “something” is.

I trust as we approach Thanksgiving and then the Christmas season, we never forget the ultimate “least among us”– the unborn child.