Locus iste

The golden St Michael atop Le Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy

It being 29th September today, no doubt the first thing that comes into the minds of many readers is that it is also the Christian Feast Day of St Michael and All Angels.

By a very happy co-incidence the College Chapel here is dedicated to St Michael the Archangel and all the Angels.

On this day each year over the past thirty years I have heard many great and many somewhat poorer sermons on the theme of the angels. Most of the poorer ones were being preached by me at the time, I hasten to add.

Like much that is supernatural it is not an easy topic to address, perhaps particularly to a teenage audience whose only notion of angels comes from that (now old) eponymous song of Robbie Williams.

More accessible perhaps is the fact that it being the feast of dedication of our chapel, the choir are going to sing the great motet Locus iste by Anton Bruckner.

The words are:

Locus iste a Deo factus est,
Inaestimabile sacramentum,
irreprehensibilis est.

And, if your Latin isn’t what it once was, in English:

This place was made by God. A priceless mystery, it is without reproach.

And in our case, it certainly is all of those things.

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