Therefore since we have this great cloud of witnesses around us, let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way, and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with determination the race that lies before us. Hebrews 12:1
Christians replaced Samhain, the dismal Celtic New Year which marked the coming of darkness, with All Saints’ Day, the glorious celebration of believers who had gone into the dazzling light of God’s presence.
O most dear ones, I can see you, beginning the journey to the land where there is no night nor sorrow nor death … You shall reign with the apostles and prophets and martyrs. You shall seize the everlasting kingdoms, as Christ promised, when he said:’They shall come from the east and the west and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven’.
St. Patrick’s letter to Coroticus.
When in the Acts of the Apostles the apostles came together in one place, Solomon’s Porch, which became a focus of peace and unity, crowds came who were made whole from diseases even by the shadow cast by the apostles. And truly, up to this day, wherever Christians gather together for the yearly festival of an individual, the Lord never ceases to perform mighty works.
On this splendid festal day of St. Samson, at God’s inspiration, mighty works of God that are just as great have without doubt been witnessed. For this reason we recognise that God has endowed Samson with an everlasting quality and an unhampered freedom. As we celebrate the heavenly kingdom on his day we perceive the next life with a clear, keen insight. For we firmly believe that he is engaged in another, better, unending life among the saints of God, whom we see shining forth among us, strong and mighty in the Lord.
From The Life of Samson of Dol
Eternal Friend, as I thank you
for your cloud of witnesses who shine so brightly,
and who beckon to us so eagerly
help me to grow strong and holy like them
that I may live more fully and boldly for you
and keep my eyes on the eternal kingdom