Of The Girdle

WEYDEN, Rogier van der 
Crucifixion Diptych 
c. 1460


Of The Girdle

And how by the same is signified, the indissoluble bond, betwixt Christ's divinity, and his humanity.

By Girdle, wherewith the Albe is straightly bound, and girded together, is signified the indissoluble bond, betwixt the divinity of Christ, and his humanity, which (after the Incarnation) were never separated, neither according to his body, nor according to his soul, notwithstanding, that his soul descended into hell, and his body remained in the sepulchre.

How his undertaking our human frailty.

2. The Girdle bringing together, the amplenesse of the Albe, doth signify, that Christ as it were, straightened his high and divine conversation (after our manner of understanding) by taking upon him our human frailty. And even as the Albe, is not made less, by the straightness of the Girdle, but only insoulded within the same: even so the immensity of Christ, remained most entire, and perfect in him, although for our example, he seemed to straighten and narrow the same.

How the virtue of Chastity

3. This Girdle hath three properties: to gird, to bind, and to mortify: betokening the care and circumspection belonging to a Priest, least the virtue of chastity, which the white garment representeth in him, be remissly and negligently guarded. And that therefore as he girteth the rains of his body, so should he girt and restrain, the rains of his mind, which are his thoughts and desires: to which virtue, our Saviour himself exhorteth saying: Let your loins be girted &c. Luc.12.35.

How fasting and prayer.

4. The two ends of the girdle, that are turned in, the one under the right side, the other under the left: do signify, the two means, requisite to conserve the virtue of Chastity, to wit, fasting, and prayer: the one to debilitate and subdue the flesh: the other to strengthen and elevate the spirit: Pray, least ye enter into temptation Luc.22.40.

How the cords wherewith our Lord was bound to the Pillar.

5. The Priest in taking the Girdle, putteth both his hands behind him at his back, whilst that serveth, giveth the same into them: representing thereby, how the most innocent Son of God for our offences, had his blessed hands fast lamentable whipped and scourged at the Pillar.

The Prayer.

6. In putting on the Girdle, he prayeth saying, Praecinge me Domine&c. Grit me O Lord with the girdle of purity, and quench in my loins, the humour of lust, that there may remain in me, the virtue of continency and Chastity.

A Devout Exposition Of The Holy Masse 1622 

By John Heigham