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A friend asked me, “why do we pray the St Michael Prayer?”

It all started on Oct. 1, 1884 when Pope Leo XIII was deeply disturbed having a mystical experience after celebrating Mass. His staff saw him suddenly stand in front of the altar for about 10 minutes in a trance, his face drained of color. Pope Leo told them he heard two voices near the tabernacle and believed they were the voices of God and Satan. Pope Leo heard Satan boast that he could destroy the Church in 75 or 100 years if given the opportunity. Then he heard God give Satan permission to try. Afterwards, Pope Leo went to his office and wrote this prayer:

St 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, cast into hell Satan and all other evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of the souls.

Pope Leo XIII’s prayer to St. Michael was prayed after Mass throughout the Church until 1964. Pope John Paul II revived the prayer in 1994 saying, “Although the prayer is no longer recited at the end of Mass, I ask everyone not to forget it and to recite it to obtain help in the battle against the forces of darkness and against the spirit of the world.”

It has been 138 years since Pope Leo wrote this powerful prayer to St. Michael. Although Satan was not able to destroy us or the Church, we must remain ever vigilant because he will never stop trying. Taking a moment and praying to St Michael helps us fight the forces of darkness in our otherwise chaotic world.

St. Michael the Archangel, pray for us. Deacon John

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