Many Catholics know the St Michael prayer, but did you know that the original prayer Of Pope Leo XIII was a great deal longer? Below is the full and original prayer.
The Background: One day, after celebrating Mass, the aged Pope Leo XIII was in conference with the Cardinals when suddenly he sank to the floor in a deep swoon. Physicians who hastened to his side could find no trace of his pulse and feared that he had expired. However, after a short interval the Holy Father regained consciousness and exclaimed with great emotion: “Oh, what a horrible picture I have been permitted to see!”
He had been shown a vision of evil spirits who had been released from Hell and their efforts to destroy the Church. But in the midst of the horror the archangel St. Michael appeared and cast Satan and his legions into the abyss of hell. Soon afterwards Pope Leo XIII composed the following prayer to Saint Michael.
Starting in 1886, this prayer was said by priest and parishioners after every Low Mass in the Latin Rite. In the aftermath of various changes that came about after the Second Vatican Council, Low Mass was ended, and the St. Michael Prayer was, unfortunately, no longer said starting around 1965.
In 1994, however, Pope John Paul II urged Catholics to recite this prayer frequently. It is likely due to his encouragement that the St. Michael Prayer, although no longer a part of the Mass, began to be recited communally by the laity in many parishes after Mass has ended. I would urge all to say the short version at bottom of page after Mass.
This St. Michael’s Prayer is the original version as written by Pope Leo XIII. It was originally published in the Roman Raccolta of July 23, 1898, and a supplement approved July 31, 1902.
ORIGINAL PRAYER TO ST MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL
O Glorious Archangel St. Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defence in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, and spirits of evil.
Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. Fight this day the battle of the Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist Thee, nor was there place for them any longer in heaven. That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan, who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels.
Behold, this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay and cast into eternal perdition souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. This wicked dragon pours out, as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men; his depraved mind, corrupt heart, his spirit of lying, impiety, blasphemy, his pestilential breath of impurity and of every vice and iniquity. These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the Spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be scattered.
Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate Thee as their protector and patron; in Thee Holy Church glories as her defence against the malicious power of hell; to Thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent who is the devil and Satan, do Thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.
Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered, hostile powers.
The Lion of the tribe of Judah has conquered, the root of David.
Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord
As we have hoped in Thee.
O Lord, hear my prayer.
And let my cry come unto Thee
LET US PRAY
God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy name, and we humbly implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin Immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel St. Michael, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of souls.
Pope Leo XIII, 1888
Raccolta 1933 (Partial Indulgence)
Below is the shortened version
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 the evil spirits who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.