“Saint Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into Hell, Satan and all the other evil spirits, who prowl throughout the world, seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.”
On October 13, 1884, which was thirty-three years before the Miracle of the Sun in Fatima, Pope Leo XIII experienced an amazing and profound vision. The aging Pope had just finished celebrating Mass in his private chapel in the Vatican. As he reached the foot of the altar, he suddenly came to a complete standstill and just stood there for about ten minutes. His face was ashen. A few minutes later, he went from the chapel directly to his office, composed the Prayer to St. Michael, and instructed the faithful to pray this after all Low Masses everywhere. This was when all the Masses were celebrated in Latin. A High Mass was complete with choir and sung responses. A Low Mass was a quiet Mass celebrated for daily Mass.
Upon questioning, the Pope said that as he was about to leave the altar, he distinctly heard two voices. One of the voices was kind and gentle. The second voice was harsh and foreboding. As he stood at the foot of the altar and listened, he heard the guttural voice brag, “I can destroy your Church.”
The voice of Our Lord replied, “You can? Then go ahead and do so.”
The voice of Satan continued, “To do so, I need more time and more power.” “How much time? How much power? asked Our Lord. The reply was, “Seventy-five to one hundred years and greater power over those who will give themselves over to my service.”
Our Lord quietly replied, “You have the time, you will have the power. Do with them what you will.”
In 1886, Pope Leo XIII decreed that this prayer to Saint Michael be recited at the end of all Low Masses throughout the universal Church a well as the Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen). The practice of the people praying these prayers at the end of Mass continued until about 1970, with the introduction of the new rite of the Mass.
On April 24, 1994, Pope John Paul II encouraged Catholics to take up the regular recitation of this prayer again. Given the current state of the world today, it is a wonder that every priest and bishop is not repeatedly echoing this request and reciting this prayer at the end of every Mass celebrated in the world.