Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Tuesday 03 August |
Saint of the Day: St. Martin
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Did you know Pope John Paul II asked us to return to the Prayer to Saint Michael?

Martinidry - shutterstock

Aleteia - published on 01/30/17

100 years after Leo XIII wrote his famous prayer after a vision, the 20th century saint called on Catholics to re-embrace this prayer

The Prayer to Archangel Michael was composed in 1884 by Pope Leo XIII. Having celebrated Mass, the pope remained after to make his prayer of Thanksgiving, at the altar. As he was ending his prayers, he heard a locution – a conversation between two voices, one gentle and the other harsh. The conversation seemed to consist of a boast by Satan that, although Jesus said the gates of hell would not prevail against it, he could, in fact, destroy the Church, with just “a little more time and power – 75 to 100 years.”

Similarly to the story in the book of Job, a voice of surpassing gentleness and mercy granted the request.

According to Father Domenico Pechenino, who testified in witness to this event, Pope Leo’s expression “was one of horror and awe…Something unusual and grave was happening in him. […]

“Finally, as though coming to his senses, he lightly but firmly tapped his hand and rose to his feet. He headed for his private office. His retinue followed anxiously and solicitously, whispering: ‘Holy Father, are you not feeling well? Do you need anything?’ He answered: ‘Nothing, nothing.’ About half an hour later, he called for the Secretary of the Congregation of Rites and, handing him a sheet of paper, requested that it be printed and sent to all the ordinaries around the world.

That prayer would become known as the Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel, and two years later, the pope decreed that it would be recited at the end of Mass throughout the church.

This practice was continued until the Second Vatican Council, which ended the practice, while recommending that the faithful continue the devotion in private.

Pope John Paul II takes it up

100 years after Pope Leo wrote his famous prayer, another pope — while not ordering a reinstatement of the prayer after Mass –nevertheless asked all Catholics to re-embrace this plea to the Prince of Angels. In 1984, during the International Year of the Family, Pope John Paul II warned that the fate of humanity was in grave danger and called on Catholics to pray the prayer daily, to overcome the forces of darkness and evil in the world. .

The Woman Dressed in the Sun

In his Regina Caeli message of Sunday, April 24, 1994, St. John Paul spoke of “the woman clothed with the sun,” of which mention was made in the apocalyptic vision of St. John, with the dragon about to devour his newborn son (Rev. 12: 1-4)

The Holy Father said at that time that in our time “before the woman accumulate all the threats against life…we must turn to the woman clothed with the sun, so surround yourself with her maternal care…”

This message encouraged the Catholic people to again invoke St. Michael the Archangel through Pope Leo XIII’s prayer:

“May the prayer strengthen us for the spiritual battle mentioned in the Letter to the Ephesians: “Grow strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” ( Ephesians 6, 10). And ‘to this same battle which refers the book of Revelation, recalling before our eyes the image of St. Michael the Archangel (cf.. Ap 12, 7). Had in mind for sure this scene Pope Leo XIII, when, at the end of the last century, he introduced throughout the Church a special prayer to St. Michael : “St. Michael the Archangel defend us in battle against the evils and snares of the evil; and be our shelter… “.”

Learn the Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel

St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Read More: Prayer to St. Rita of Cascia, Saint of Impossible Causes

Pope John Paul II
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Saint Mary of the Angels
Bret Thoman, OFS
All your sins will be forgiven if you go to a Franciscan church o...
Ignacio María Doñoro
Francisco Veneto
The military chaplain who pretended to be a criminal to rescue a ...
Violeta Tejera
Carlo Acutis’ first stained glass window in jeans and sneak...
Theresa Civantos Barber
The one thing we all should do before this summer ends
Philip Kosloski
Most priests can’t absolve these sins
Ary Waldir Ramos Diaz
1st Feast of Our Lady of Silence is August 1
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.