At the very mention of St. Michael Satan began to recoil. He was tortured by that part of the prayer which refers to the solemn petition addressed to St. Michael. He absolutely refused to listen to the statement that St. Michael, as leader of the faithful angels, cast Lucifer together with his legions into the very abyss of hell. It was astounding how much he dreaded the prayer in honor of St. Michael commonly recited at the end of the Mass. The prayer is as follows:
"St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. Restrain him, 0 God, we humbly beseech Thee, and do Thou, 0 Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God cast him into hell with the other evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen."
Would that we as Christians recited this prayer in honor of St. Michael with greater fervor and devotion.
A rather peculiar circumstance induced Pope Leo XIII to compose this powerful prayer. After celebrating Mass one day he was in conference with the Cardinals. Suddenly he sank to the floor. A doctor was summoned and several came at once. There was no sign of any pulse-beating, the very life seemed to have ebbed away from the already weakened and aged body. Suddenly he recovered and said: "What a horrible picture I was permitted to see!" He saw what was going to happen in the future, the misleading powers and the ravings of the devils against the Church in all countries. But St. Michael had appeared in the nick of time and cast Satan and his cohorts back into the abyss of hell. Such was the occasion that caused Pope Leo XIII to have this prayer recited over the entire world at the end of the Mass.