Rorate Caeli

Pope Francis: "Priests, do you weep? In the Ancient Missal..."

“Tell me: do you weep? Or have we lost tears? I remember that in the Ancient Missals, those of another time, there was a very beautiful prayer to ask for the gift of tears. It began thus, the prayer: 'Lord, You, who gave to Moses the mandate of striking the stone so that water would come of it, strike the stone of my heart, so that tears...': it went like this, more or less, the prayer. It was very beautiful. But how many of us weep before the suffering of a child, before the destruction of a family, before so many people who do not find the way? The weeping of priests... Do you weep?"
March 6, 2014

It is the collect ad petendam compunctionem cordis, in the traditional Roman Missal (Orationes diversae):

Oratio: Omnípotens et mitíssime Deus, qui sitiénti pópulo fontem vivéntis aquae de petra produxísti: educ de cordis nostri durítia lácrimas compunctiónis; ut peccáta nostra plángere valeámus, remissionémque eórum, te miseránte, mereámur accípere. Per Dóminum nostrum.... [“Almighty and most merciful God, Who, to quench the thirst of Thy people, didst draw a fountain of living water out of a rock, draw from our stony hearts tears of compunction, that we may be able to weep for our sins and win forgiveness for them by Thy mercy. Through Our Lord ... .”]

Cantuale Antonianum (in Italian) says that in the 2002 typical edition of the Paul VI Missal a similar prayer was included. But it was obviously the Ancient Missal that in its poetic beauty and own personal experience (as an altar boy... as a seminarian), became ingrained in the Pope's memory forever.

Note: in 2010, we posted this translation of a text dedicated to traditional collects, including the collect pro petitione lacrymarum, by Dom Gérard Calvet, of most venerable memory, founder and first abbot of Saint Mary Magdalen of Le Barroux, the great Traditional Abbey in southern France.