The Prayer to Saint Michael
Saint Michael the Archangel,
Defend us in the Battle,
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
Rebuke him, o God,
We suppliantly beseech thee,
And do then, O Prince of the Heavenly Host,
Under thy Divine Power,
Drive into Hell,
Satan and all the other evil spirits
Who wander through the world,
Seeking the ruin of souls.
The Prayer to the Archangel Michael was composed by Pope Leo XIII (d. 1903) after he had a vision of the battle between the "Woman clothed with the sun" and the great dragon who tried to devour her child at birth, in the Book of Revelation, chapter 12. In 1886, the pope decreed that this prayer be said at the end of "low" Mass (not "high", or sung Masses) thoughout the universal Church, along with the Salve Regina (Hail, Holy Queen); and the practice of the congregation praying these prayers at the end of Mass continued until aout 1970.
In 1994, during the International Year of the Family, Pope John Paul II asked all Catholics to pray this prayer daily. He warned that the fate of humanity was in great peril (in particular because of the U.N. Population Conference to be held in Cairo that year). Though he did not order that the prayer be said after Mass, he urged Catholics to pray together to overcome the forces of darkness and evil in the world.
In his Angelus message given in St. Peter's Square, Sunday, April 24 1994, shortly before the United Nations Conference in Cairo, the pope spoke of "the Woman clothed with the sun", who appeared in Saint John's apocalyptic vision, with the dragon about to devour her newborn child (Rev 12:1-4). The Holy Father said that in our time "all the accumulated threats to life" are placed before woman, and we must "address the Woman clothed with the sun" to overcome these snares. In this message he encouraged the revival of the prayer to Saint Michael:
"May prayer strengthen us for the spiritual battle of which we are told in the Letter to the Ephesians: 'Draw strength from the Lord and from His mighty power' (Ephesians 6:10). It is this same battle to which The Book of Revelation [Apocalypse] refers, recalling before our eyes the image of Saint Michael the Archangel (cf. Revelation 12:7). Pope Leo XIII certainly had a very vivid vision of this scene when, at the end of the last century, he introduced a special prayer to Saint Michael throughout the Church. Even if this prayer is no longer recited at the end of every Mass, I ask everyone to remember it and to recite it to obtain help in the battle against forces of darkness and against the spirit of this world."