I was reading the Psalms from the Daily Mass readings, and a question that I had often wondered, but never bothered looking for an answer to came to mind. "What does Selah mean?" In today's reading, it comes twice:

I acknowledged my sin to thee, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD"; then thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin. [Selah] Therefore let every one who is godly offer prayer to thee; at a time of distress, in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him. Thou art a hiding place for me, thou preservest me from trouble; thou dost encompass me with deliverance. [Selah]

I researched the word briefly on the web, and found that nobody really knows what it means. The most popular interpretation of the word seems to be "a musical pause for reflection". This caught my attention immediately. In western music, we use musical rests for dramatic effect, for rhythmic purposes, and for instruments which the composer feels are not necessary in a particular part of the piece.Yet here, in the Psalms, we have a rest specifically put in the music for personal reflection and prayer.

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This page contains a single entry by Robert Diaz, MI published on February 1, 2006 9:22 AM.

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