WDTPRS: Sexagesima Sunday
In the traditional Roman calendar this Sunday is called Sexagesima, Latin for the “Sixtieth” day before Easter. This number is more symbolic than arithmetical. Last week was the first of these pre-Lenten Sundays, Septuagesima or “Seventieth. The pre-Lenten Sundays prepare us for the discipline of Lent, which once was far stricter. Purple is worn rather than the green of the season after Epiphany and there is a Tract instead of an Alleluia. The prayers and readings for the pre-Lenten Sundays were compiled by St. Gregory the Great (+604). In the Novus Ordo of Paul VI there is no more pre-Lent, which was a real loss.
Deus, qui conspicis, quia ex nulla nostra actione confidimus:
concede propitius; ut, contra adversa omnia,
Doctoris gentium protectione muniamur.
I don’t think this prayer in any form survived to live in the Novus Ordo. The jam-packed Lewis & Short Dictionary informs us that conspicio means “to look at attentively”. In the passive, it is “to attract attention, to be conspicuous”. Conspicio is a compound of “cvm…with” and *specio. The asterisk indicates a theoretical form which has to do with perception. The useful French dictionary of liturgical Latin we call Blaise/Dumas says that conspicio refers to God’s “regard”, presumably because God “sees” all things “together”.
The last word here is from munio, which is “to build a wall around, to fortify, …protect, secure, put in a state of defence; to guard, secure, strengthen, support”.
O God, You who perceive that we confide in no action of our own:
propitiously grant; that we may be fortified against every adverse thing
by the protection of the Doctor of the Gentiles.
Be sure to check out his column on the beautiful prayers for this Sunday in the 1962 Roman Missal.