Prior to Vatican II, the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel used to be recited at the end of every single Mass, all over the world. Back then, this powerful prayer to the chief of all the Angels was a mandatory prayer for every single Catholic attending Mass.
This powerful prayer is highly-recommended by exorcists. There is actually a longer form of the prayer, in fact, that is used during exorcism sessions.
The Prayer to St. Michael is a prayer that calls down the powerful aid of St. Michael the Archangel, so that he can defend us and our families against the devil. By reciting this prayer daily, we are asking the Chief of all the Angels to defeat and vanquish the devil from our daily lives - just as he defeated Lucifer during their battle in Heaven.
Not too many people know that behind this powerful Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel is an incredible story. This is no ordinary prayer. This is a prayer written by Pope Leo XIII after a supernatural personal experience.
A cardinal at the time who knew the pope’s private secretary explains that “Pope Leo XIII truly had a vision of demonic spirits, who were gathering on the Eternal City (Rome). From that experience…comes the prayer which he wanted the whole Church to recite.”
On Oct. 1, 1884, Pope Leo XIII had a mystical experience after celebrating Mass at his private chapel. According to witnesses, after celebrating Mass, the Pope suddenly stood immobile in front of the altar. For around 10 minutes, he just stood there, as if in a trance. His face was pale and drained of all color.
After that experience, the Pope, in a rush, went immediately to his office and composed the prayer to St. Michael. The original form that the Pope wrote was much longer than the shortened version which we now pray today. Later on, Pope Leo XIII instituted what would be known as the “Leonine Prayers” after Mass. For those who have attended a Low Mass in the Extraordinary Form (Latin), you will note that these prayers include the Prayer to St. Michael.
What did the Pope see in that vision that led him to urgently write the prayer to St. Michael and eventually institute the recitation of this prayer in the universal Church after every Mass?
The Pope explained that he had heard two voices in the vicinity of the tabernacle: the arrogant voice of Satan, and the kind, gentle voice of Our Lord Jesus. The conversion was as follows:
Satan says to Jesus: “I can destroy your Church.”
Jesus replies: “You can? Then go ahead and do so.”
Satan: “To do so, I need more time and more power.”
Jesus: “How much time? How much power?
Satan: “75 to 100 years, and a greater power over those who will give themselves over to my service.”
Jesus: “You have the time, you will have the power. Do with them what you will.”
Some may ask: Why would God would allow the devil to tempt and attack His people and His Church? If we look at Bible history, we will note that there were many instances wherein God allowed Satan to tempt and attack His holy ones. God allowed the devil to tempt Job and subject him to the harshest of trials. In the end, Job proved loyal to God, and humiliated the devil with his Faith. God the Father even allowed His Only Begotten Son to be tempted by the devil in the desert. In the end, the Son of God banished and defeated Satan.
God allows trials and sufferings in our life - including occasional direct encounters with the evil one - in order to strengthen our Faith, earn merit, and defeat the devil. Faith in God is like a muscle - it needs to be exercised for it to grow and develop. In the same way that world-class athletes subject their bodies to the most severe tests and trials during training, God allows many of us to be subjected to trials in life, including occasional direct encounters with the devil, so that we will have opportunities to grow in our Faith.
We also need to remember that God will never abandon us in our daily battle against the evil one. All we need to do is to call on the help of the Holy Trinity, the Blessed Mother, and the Heavenly Hierarchy, including St. Michael the Archangel.
Let us make the St. Michael the Archangel Prayer a part of our daily routine! Below is the prayer in its short form:
St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.