On October 13th 1884, Pope Leo XIII had a very terrifying vision. When he was about 74, having finished a Mass in his private Vatican Chapel, with a few number of Cardinal and Vatican staff in attendance. He was moving past the alter and suddenly stopped at its foot, freezing there for about 10 minutes, as if in a trance, his face grew white. Then after he went quietly to his office and composed the prayer below and gave instructions for it to be incorporated in low masses everywhere.
Later on he explained what happened. He heard the voices of Christ and the Devil engaged in a dialogue. According to him, the former was kind and gentle while the latter’s was harsh and boastful. They approached as though coming to the tabernacle so he listened and heard the following:
The voice of Satan in his pride, boasted to Our Lord: “I can destroy your Church.”
The gentle voice of Our Lord: “You can? Then go ahead and do so.”
Satan: “To do so, I need more time and more power.”
Our Lord: “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.”
Our Lord: “You have the time, you will have the power. Do with them what you will.”
John Paul II, on April 24 1994, after the Angelus, gave a message on the prayer of St Michael:
“The prayer can fortify us for that spiritual battle about which the Letter to the Ephesians speaks [of]: “Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power.”(Ephesians 6:10). And to this same battle that the Book of the Apocalypse refers [to], recalling in front of our eyes the image of St. Michael the Archangel (cf. Revelations 12:7). Surely, this scene was very present to Pope Leon XIII, when, at the end of the previous century, he introduced to the entire Church a special prayer to St. Michael: ‘St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil… ’
“Even if today this prayer is no longer recited at the end of the Eucharistic celebration, I invite all to not forget it, but to recite it in order to obtain help in the battle against the forces of darkness and the spirit of this world.”
The Truncated version:
In 1902 the below truncated version appeared:
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.
The Original version:
St. Michael the Archangel,
illustrious leader of the heavenly army,
defend us in the battle against principalities and powers,
against the rulers of the world of darkness
and the spirit of wickedness in high places.
Come to the rescue of mankind,
whom God has made in His own image and likeness,
and purchased from Satan’s tyranny at so great a price.
Holy Church venerates you as her patron and guardian.
The Lord has entrusted to you the task
of leading the souls of the redeemed to heavenly blessedness.
Entreat the Lord of peace to cast Satan down under our feet,
so as to keep him from further holding man captive and doing harm to the Church.
Carry our prayers up to God’s throne,
that the mercy of the Lord may quickly come
and lay hold of the beast, the serpent of old, Satan and his demons,
casting him in chains into the abyss, so that he can no longer seduce the nations.