ST. JOHN PAUL II ON THE
PRAYER TO ST. MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL.
“May prayer strengthen us for the spiritual battle that the Letter to the Ephesians speaks of: ‘Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might’ (Ephesians 6:10). The Book of Revelation refers to this same battle, recalling before our eyes the image of St Michael the Archangel (cf. Revelation 12:7). Pope Leo XIII certainly had this picture in mind when, at the end of the last century, he brought in, throughout the Church, a special prayer to St Michael:
‘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 evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.‘
Although this 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 this world.”
—St. John Paul II, Regina Caeli, 24 April 1994
ORIGIN OF THE RECITATION OF THE PRAYER TO ST. MICHAEL AT THE END OF THE MASS.
For the greater part of the 19th century, the faithful recited the prayer to St. Michael at the end of the Mass. This was the result of Pope Leo XIII’s initiative.
“Pope Leo XIII (d. 1903) had a prophetic vision of the coming century of sorrow and war. After celebrating Mass, the Holy Father was conferring with his cardinals. Suddenly, he fell to the floor. The cardinals immediately called for a doctor. No pulse was detected, and the Holy Father was feared dead. Just as suddenly, Pope Leo awoke and said, “What a horrible picture I was permitted to see!” In this vision, God gave Satan the choice of one century in which to do his worst work against the Church. The devil chose the twentieth century. So moved was the Holy Father from this vision that he composed the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel: “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, thrust into Hell Satan and all the other evil spirits who roam about the world seeking the ruin of souls.” Pope Leo ordered this prayer said at the conclusion of Mass in 1886.” (Source: https://www.catholiceducation.org/en/culture/catholic-contributions/the-prayer-to-st-michael.html Emphasis mine.)
With the publication of the Roman Missal of 1968, the recitation of the prayer to St. Michael and reading of the “last gospel” at the end of the Mass were suppressed.
Pope Francis asked the faithful to recite this prayer at the end of the Holy Rosary on Sept. 29, 2018 to protect the Church from the snares of the enemy.
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