On October 13, 1884, Pope Leo XIII is said to have had a vision while concluding Mass, leading him to immediately compose the original prayer to St. Michael – a longer version of the prayer we use today. His vision included the sound of two voices, one of which was gentle and the other that was very troubling. The guttural voice (that of Satan) said “I can destroy your Church,” to which the gentle voice (of the Lord) answered: “You can? Then go ahead and do so.” Satan is said to have replied: “To do so, I need more time and more power.” The Lord answered him, “How much time? How much power?” Satan then declared: “75 to 100 years, and a greater power over those who will give themselves over to my service.” The Lord said, “You have the time, and you will have the power. Do with them what you will.”
In the Saint Michael prayer, he throws down the gauntlet to “the father of lies” as Jesus calls the devil in John’s Gospel (8:44), by enlisting the help of a very special Archangel. St. Michael makes a great general in this fight between Christ and Satan for our souls! After all, we read in Revelation (12:7-9) that “Then war broke out in heaven; Michael, and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back, but they did not prevail and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The huge dragon, the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown down to earth, and its angels were thrown down with it.”
Let us not be afraid to ask for St. Michael’s help in this prayer and others like it. We need to remember that each time we pray we work to defeat our real enemies, not each other, but rather the devil and his evil spirits. As St. Paul put it, we fight “not against flesh and blood but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness” (Eph 6:12). With God’s help in prayer, they can all be overcome.
(Source: Our Catholic Prayers)
Read more in the “Why Do We Do That?” series from Deacon Mike Fritz.