You must make it your endeavor, if you wish to attain to true knowledge of the Scriptures, that first of all you acquire steadfast humility of heart to lead you to that knowledge which does not puff up, but enlightens, being made perfect in love. For it is impossible that an impure mind should acquire the gift of spiritual knowledge…
Next in every way must you strive to drive out every distraction and all earthly thoughts, and give yourself assiduously or rather constantly to sacred study until constant meditation imbues your mind and, so to say, forms you after its own likeness….wherefore the Scripture Lessons should be carefully committed to memory, and frequently repeated.
…those passages which we have run through with speedy repetition while trying to fix them in our memory, though at that time we cannot give proper attention to their meaning, afterwards when we are free from distractions of sight and of work, and especially in the quiet of our nocturnal meditations–we can see, as we think them over, their meaning more clearly, with the result that the sense of the most mysterious texts which when awake we cannot in any way understand, is revealed to us in the quiet of rest, and when we are, so to say, plunged into the depths of sleep.
And as our minds are strengthened by this kind of study, the Scriptures will present to us a new aspect, and the depth of their inner meaning will more and more be revealed to us.
~St John Cassian (Conference with Abbot Nesteros)