Mont Saint-Michel, France
“St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray…”
Six years after the events in Knock, Ireland, Pope Leo XIII was conferring with several cardinals who were attending a Mass of thanksgiving in his private chamber. It was October 13, 1884. He was staring at the area above where the celebrant’s head had been.
The look on Leo’s face changed rapidly and he fell into a mystical ecstasy. When his color faded and no pulse was detected, a doctor was immediately summoned!
Within a short time, however, he regained consciousness and stated: ”What a horrible picture I was permitted to see!” He then described a frightful conversation in a vision he had just witnessed.
It consisted of two voices he clearly understood to be that of Christ and Satan, wherein the latter boasted he could destroy the Church if he were granted approximately one century to carry out his plan. Satan also asked for “…a greater influence over those who will give themselves to my service.” To which Christ said: “You will be given the time and the power.”
Deeply shaken by this vision, Leo XIII went into another room where he immediately composed the Prayer to St. Michael, the Archangel. Returning to his private chamber he ordered the prayer to “be recited after all the [Low] Masses as a protection for the Church against the attacks from Hell.”
Presumably, Satan chose the twentieth century, an approximately one-hundred year period from the time Our Lady affirmed the existence of Hell at Fatima in 1917, through the early part of the twenty-first century.
“St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him,we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into Hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.”
Pope St. Leo XIII died in Rome, on July 20, 1903, at the age of 93. He was the oldest reigning pope in history. The prayer Leo XIII composed to St. Michael was said at the end of each Mass until 1970. However, it was forgotten during the promulgation of the Mass of Pope Paul VI, even though there was no provision in the documents that stated it should not continue to be said.
Eleven years later, on December 2, 1983, Fr. Vlasic, pastor of St. James Church in Medjugorje, sent a letter to Pope John Paul II stating: “Mirjana had an apparition in 1982, wherein the Blessed Virgin told her: ‘…you must realize that Satan exists. One day he appeared before the throne of God and asked permission to submit the Church to a period of trial. God gave him permission to try the Church for one century.
“This century is under the power of the devil; but when the secrets confided to you come to pass, his power will be destroyed. Even now he is beginning to lose his power and has become aggressive. He is destroying marriages, creating divisions among priests, and is responsible for obsessions and murder.’”
Finally, on Sunday, April 24, 1994, at the end of his Angelus message given in St. Peter’s Square, Pope John Paul II urged Catholics to begin to recite this prayer to St. Michael once again. In recent times, it has found renewed favor and is now being recited in many of the churches at the dismissal time following the end of Mass.
Then, on June 30, 1972, one of his successors, Pope Paul VI, cautioned: “The smoke of Satan has entered the very heart of the Church!”
In 590, the Bubonic plague struck Rome, killing Pope Pelagius II. He was immediately succeeded by Pope Gregory I. He was born in Rome about 540 and eventually exercised a momentous influence on the Catholic Church. He is certainly one of the most notable figures in Ecclesiastical History.
When this great plague that killed so many throughout the world finally reached its breaking point, Pope Gregory I rallied the people from the seven corners of Rome. He led a procession through the streets. He carried a miraculous image of Mary as an act of penance and prayed for the forgiveness of sins.
Many of the sick, moved by their faith, left their beds and homes to join in the procession. Upon arriving at the bridge of St. Peter’s where the tomb of the Emperor Hadrian is located, Gregory was given a vision of St. Michael the Archangel over the tomb of Hadrian, putting his sword back into its sheave. It was taken as a sign that the plague was over; and, so it was!
Later, in memory of this vision, the statue of St. Michael was raised on top of that structure which stands today at the gate to St. Peter’s. It is known as the Castle of Sant’ Angelo. A chapel was eventually built at the top of the tomb along with a large marble angel, which remained there for centuries until Pope Benedict XIV replaced the statue with a bronze one. Pope Gregory I, the Great, died on March 12, 604. and was eventually declared a Saint and Doctor of the Church.
St. Michael, the Archangel, figured quite prominently during several of the appearances of Our Lady. In 1915, an angel, quite likely Michael, told the children in Fatima that he was the guardian angel of Portugal. He is known as the guardian of nations and heads of state. His task was to prepare the children for the appearances of the Mother of God.
You will notice a great similarity of this vision of St. Michael with his sword, to the angel depicted in the third secret of Fatima.Of all the shrines and places in the world that honor St. Michael, the Archangel, there is one very special place that honors him more than any other.
Mont Saint-Michel, a wonder of the western world, forms a tower in the heart of an immense bay invaded by the highest tides in Europe. It is located in Normandy, France, approximately one-half mile offshore from the country’s Northwestern coast.
On October 19, 709, a bit further inland from the present Mont, St. Michael, the Archangel, appeared to Bishop Aubert of Avranches, wherein he requested the bishop to build and consecrate a small church on the rocky islet. When the bishop repeatedly ignored the angel’s instruction, St. Michael burned a hole in the bishop’s skull with his finger. Needless to say, construction began shortly thereafter.
At the same time the abbey was developing, a village sprung up during the Middle Ages. It flourished on the southeast side of the rock surrounded by walls, dating for the most part during the Hundred Years War, from 1337 to 1453. The French Revolution waged from 1787 to 1799 and reached its height in 1789, when the Abbey was turned into a prison. It was finally restored near the end of the nineteenth century.
On the monastic’s 1000th anniversary, celebrated in 1966, a religious community returned and restored the original vocation there with the goal of perpetuating prayer. Friars and sisters from Les Fraternités Monastiques de Jerusalem have been ensuring a spiritual presence since the year 2001. This village has always had numerous shops to serve the visitors; yet, by 2006, it had a population of only 41.
I mentioned that “St. Michael burned a hole in the bishop’s skull with his finger…construction began shortly thereafter.” Lest you have any doubts about that altercation, I suggest you pay a visit to the Saint-Gervais Basilica in Avranches. Once there, you may closely inspect the hole in the bishop’s skull to decide for yourself!
In 1848, Friedrich Engels, a German social scientist residing in England, issued the founding documents of Communism entitled the Communist Manifesto. It was co-authored by Karl Marx.
By 1910, Portugal itself had been overrun by a people’s Socialist Republic revolution whose purpose was to establish a police-state similar to that which Vladimir Lenin had proposed for Russia in 1895. Once in power they began an anti-religious policy against the Church; all religious orders were suppressed.
This led to the exile of the majority of the countries’ bishops and the imprisonment of many priests. Dr. Alfonso Costa, chief organizer of the revolution, stated: “Thanks to this law of separation, in two generations Catholicism will be completely eliminated in Portugal.”
On April 3, 1917, Vladimir Lenin, returned to Russia to further the revolution there where he said: “We need the real, nation-wide terror which reinvigorates the country and through which the Great French Revolution achieved glory.” Fortunately, as we shall see in the following chapters, Our Lady had a different plan in mind, a plan from Heaven destined to radically change the world as we know it.
In 1981, Our Lady said: “I am the Blessed Virgin Mary…I am your Mother, the Queen of Peace…I love you…I come on a mission from God the Father. God has chosen each one of you to use you in a great plan for the salvation of mankind. I wish to be with you to reconcile the world through prayer, fasting, faith, conversion and peace.”
The following year, on May 22nd, Our Lady told the children that this series of appearances will be her last one on the earth: “I have come to call the world to conversion for the last time. Later, I will not appear any more on this earth!”