To be as little children, we must fight,
Leave childhood far behind us and be men—
Seek Heaven’s dawn through Purgatory’s night,
Engird the earth and find our homes again.
For God has placed in us an awful trust:
Not soldier-angels but ourselves He sends
To battle Satan’s pride and hate and lust
Until the broken world our Savior mends.
And we, though children of the lowly dust,
Are given weapons dour and keen to bear—
Love, music, sunlight, faith that God is just—
To face the viper in his darksome lair.
And so, in time, receive the holy right
To stand among our Lord’s celestial knights.
J.B. Toner is a graduate of the school of hard knocks.