On September 25, 1888, following his morning Mass, Pope Leo XIII became traumatized to the point that he collapsed. Those in attendance thought that he was dead.
After coming to consciousness, the pope described a frightful conversation that he had heard coming from near the tabernacle. The conversation consisted of two voices – voices which Pope Leo XIII clearly understood to be the voices of Jesus Christ and the Devil. The Devil boasted that he could destroy the Church, if he were granted 75 years to carry out his plan (or 100 years, according to some accounts). The Devil also asked permission for “a greater influence over those who will give themselves to my service.” To the Devil’s requests, Our Lord reportedly replied: “you will be given the time and the power.”
Shaken deeply by what he had heard, Pope Leo XIII composed the following original Prayer to St. Michael and ordered it to be recited after all Low Masses as a protection for the Church against the attacks from Hell. What follows is the original prayer:
O Glorious Archangel St. Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and Powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, 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 thewhole 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 of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent 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.
Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye 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.
In 1934, Pope Leo’s prophetic prayer (given above) was altered, the significant phrase referring to the apostasy in Rome, where the Holy Place is situated, was deleted, and the use of Leo XIII’s original Prayer to St. Michael following each Low Mass was replaced with a new concoction, the popular abbreviated Prayer to St. Michael, which goes as follows:
“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 evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.”
Not that there is anything wrong with this prayer to St. Michael, it is very effective and salutary, but that it is not the original prayer to St. Michael initially composed byHis Holiness Leo XIII and is not the prayer that he ordered to be recited at the close of every Low Mass. This prayer quoted here was substituted in the place of the original, in order that the faithful ignorant of the amazing content of the original prayer described above.