The brethren said, “By what means did the Fathers sing the Psalms of the Holy Spirit without wandering of mind?”
The old man said, “First of all they accustomed themselves whenever they stood up to sing the service in their cells to labor with great care to collect their minds from wandering, and to understand the meaning of the Psalms, and they took care never to let one word (or verse) escape them without their knowing its meaning. As our Fathers did, they applied all the Psalms to their own lives and works, and to their spiritual life, and to the wars which the devils waged against them. Each man did thus according to his capacity. As it is written, “Blessed are the people who know your praises, O Lord.” That is to say, blessed is the monk who, while glorifying You with praise, collects his mind from wandering, and understands clearly the knowledge and meaning of the Psalms of the spirit, also as it is written, “Sing to God with praise, sing to our King.” When then a man sings the service in this manner, and pays attention to the meaning of the verse, he acquires daily the faculty of singing a song mingled with the meditation of God and with the gaze upon Him.