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One day, after celebrating Mass, the aged Pope Leo XIII was in conference with the Cardinals, suddenly he sank to the floor in a deep swoon. Physicians who hastened to his side could find no trace of his pulse and feared that he had expired. However, after a short interval the Holy Father regained consciousness and exclaimed with great emotion: “Oh, what a horrible picture I have been permitted to see!” He had been shown a vision of evil spirits who had been released from Hell and their efforts to destroy the Church. But in the midst of the horror the archangel St. Michael appeared and cast satan and his legions into the abyss of hell. Soon afterwards Pope Leo XIII composed the following prayer to Saint Michael....

Saint 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 Divine Power of God - cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits, who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

May this Prayer Strengthen us for the Spiritual Battle we are told about in the Letter to the Ephesians: ‘Draw Strength from the Lord and from His Mighty Power’ (Ephesians 6:10). The Book of Revelation refers to this same Battle, recalling before our eyes the Image of Saint Michael the Archangel (Revelation 12:7). Pope Leo XIII certainly had a very Vivid Recollection of this scene when, at the End of the last Century, he introduced a Special Prayer to Saint Michael throughout the Church. Although this Prayer is no longer recited at the end of Mass, I ask everyone not to forget it and to recite it to obtain help in the Battle against Forces of Darkness and against the Spirit of this World. - Pope John Paul II

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