In 1884, Pope Leo XIII famously composed a prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel. Under his tenure, the prayer was recited after each Mass, but In 1964, The Liturgical Reform of Vatican II removed the obligation to say it. However, Pope Leo XIII’s prayer to St. Michael is still widely known today: Pope John Paull II and Pope Francis both encouraged believers to say it daily, calling for the Archangel’s protection of the Church and of Men in the battle against evil.
“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.
As the story goes, one day while attending Mass, in 1884, Pope Leo XIII suddenly raised his head with a strange and rigid expression on his face: his eyes were fixated on something. After staying in this state of religious ecstasy for a few minutes, the pontiff finally regained his senses and exited the Church. Half an hour later he called the secretary of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, to petition him to transmit the prayer to St. Michael he just wrote to every bishop of the Church. The prayer was then officially implemented at the end of each Low Mass, to be recited by the officiant and the entire assembly.
What did Pope Leo XIII see for him to be so spontaneously inspired to compose a prayer to St. Michael, that he urgently needed to implement after every Mass? The details of his vision have been reported in many writings, most notably in the volumes “Americanism and the Anti-Christian Conspiracy” by Monsignor Henri Delassus.
In his vision, Pope Leo XIII witnessed a conversation between the two voices of God and Satan, who was convinced that, with time, he would be able to destroy the Church. He then had a terrible vision of Hell, at the end of which St. Michael the Archangel intervened, summoned by thousands of prayers calling to him.
Pope Leo XIII saw the importance of praying devotedly to St. Michael, which is why he had his prayer sent to all the ordinaries around the world, and he instructed that it be said at the end of every Mass. In doing so, he hoped to help convert souls and to bring the victory of the army of the Lord against Satan, who’s evil presence was so pervasive in the world. Let us too call for the protection of St. Michael!
In 1964, The Liturgical Reform of Vatican II removed many prayers from the Catholic rite under the tenure of Pope Paul VI. This included the prayer to St. Michael by Pope Leo XIII. Though it has not been reinstated, Pope John Paull II and Pope Francis both encouraged Christians to pray it regularly “to obtain help in the battle against forces of darkness” (Pope John Paul II)
As the commander of God’s army, St. Michael’s protection is a powerful tool. In Catholic practice, there are many prayers of consecration to St. Michael the Archangel. As a Saint and as an Archangel, his intervention is highly valued by Christians around the world.
You too can learn to pray to St. Michael, the Angels and the Saints with Hozana! Hozana offers a large variety of spiritual programs designed to help you grow your faith and to enrich your oratory content: pray every day along with other Christians, and ask St. Michael for his protection, turn to the Angels for 9 days, spend a week with the Saints, or learn to meditate on the daily Gospel!