Exactly 33 years to the day prior to the great Miracle of the Sun in Fatima, that is, on October 13, 1884, Pope Leo XIII had a remarkable vision.
When the aged Pontiff had finished celebrating Mass in his private Vatican Chapel, attended by a few Cardinals and members of the Vatican staff, he suddenly stopped at the foot of the altar. He stood there for about 10 minutes, as if in a trance, his face ashen white.
Then, going immediately from the Chapel to his office, he composed the prayer to St. Michael, with instructions it be said after all Low Masses everywhere.
When asked what had happened, he explained that, as he was about to leave the foot of the altar, he suddenly heard voices - two voices, one kind and gentle, the other guttural and harsh.
They seemed to come from near the tabernacle.
As he listened, he heard the following conversation:
The guttural voice, the voice of Satan in his pride, boasted to Our Lord: "I can destroy your Church."
The gentle voice of Our Lord: "You can? Then go ahead and do so."
Satan: "To do so, I need more time and more power."
Our Lord: "How much time? How much power?
Satan: "75 to 100 years, and a greater power over those who will give themselves over to my service."
Our Lord: "You have the time, you will have the power. Do with them what you will."
In 1886, Pope Leo XIII decreed that this prayer to St. Michael be said at the end of "low" Mass (not "high", or sung Masses) throughout the universal Church, along with the Salve Regina (Hail, Holy Queen); and the practice of the congregation praying these prayers at the end of Mass continued until about 1970, with the introduction of the new rite of the Mass.
I suppose, in his diabolical endeavour, that a very cunning ploy of the Devil would be to convince people outside of the Catholic Church and the majority of the Faithful to believe that the Pope, not the Lord Jesus Christ was the Supreme Head of the Catholic Church. Blessed Pope John Paul II, who will be canonized tomorrow, did not believe he was the Head of the Church but enjoyed as Successor of St Peter visible headship by virtue of the Apostolic power given by Christ to Peter, as the Vicar of Christ on Earth. Blessed Pope John Paul II did not believe he was the Church's Lord and Master but its chief servant. I must say that I find it fascinating that the vision of Pope Leo XIII suggests that the great battle in the Church against the Devil would take place 'around the tabernacle'.