Shortly after his vision, Pope Leo XIII composed the St. Michael’s prayer, which was published in the Raccolta in 1886. A shortened version of this prayer was also composed and Pope Leo ordered it to be said after low Masses throughout the world. In 1930, Pope Pius XI attached the intention of the conversion of Russia to these prayers. The prayers at the foot of the altar were abruptly removed without explanation by John XXIII (Angelo Roncalli) in 1962.
Here’s a part of the original prayer that may greatly surprise many:
“These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be scattered.” (emphasis added)
Thus, after this extraordinary vision, Pope Leo felt compelled to ask for St. Michael the Archangel’s help against the agents of Satan on earth whom he recognized already then as having “raised the throne of their abominable impiety” in “the Holy Place itself” with the “iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be scattered.”
In other words, Pope Leo wanted the faithful to pray that the Church would not be forced to undergo something like the painful exile of the Papacy from Rome, as in the time in the 12th century when for eight years an antipope, Anacletus II (Pierleoni), usurped the Vatican while the true Pope, Innocent II (Gregory Paparaschi), fled Rome into central Europe. In those days, it wasn’t until St. Bernard of Clairvoix rallied the faithful and some Christian princes that the tide began to turn, resulting in the true Pope being restored to the Vatican. By vigorously and energetically opposing the forces of antichrist in his day, and eventually evicting the usurpers from Rome, some say St. Bernard of Clairvoix did more to influence the history of the world than anyone since the time of the Apostles themselves.