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What is the origin of the St. Michael prayer?

You might already pray it daily—but do you know where this powerful prayer comes from?

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle…

The prayer to St. Michael is part of the Leonine Prayers, which were once said at the end of Mass. They are called Leonine because Pope Leo XIII ordered them to be said after Low (simple) Mass for the liberty of the Church during an era when the temporal authorities were attempting to suppress the Church’s rights.

Pope Leo XIII

But the St. Michael prayer was not originally included in the Leonine Prayers. It was added a couple years after Pope Leo’s original instruction, following a mysterious and powerful vision that he is said to have experienced after celebrating Mass one day at the Vatican.

Though it is not certain exactly what happened that day, accounts say that—appearing pale and fearful as he stood near the altar—the Holy Father beheld a harrowing vision of demons gathering on Rome. He quickly went and composed the St. Michael prayer and added it to the Leonine Prayers.

Although it is no longer obligatory after Mass, pontiffs—especially John Paul II—and bishops have promoted the St. Michael prayer as a powerful defense against Satan’s forces. Many parishes recite it together after Mass, some even continuing the tradition of the whole set of Leonine Prayers.

Pray the St. Michael prayer! Pray it for the protection of the Church, for our country, for your family, for yourself. Pray it! Do it now! Here it is!

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 throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

You can keep this prayer handy and increase your devotion to St. Michael with a laminated prayer card. It features Guido Reni’s powerful portrait of the Archangel on the front and his prayer on the reverse. Included is a beautiful medal of St. Michael on a 24” chain. Available here at The Catholic Company!

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