As in prophetic times anointing was regarded as a most honourable rite, since kings and prophets were anointed, so now spiritual men are anointed with a heavenly unction and become Christians by grace so that they too may be kings, and prophets or heavenly mysteries.
They are sons and lords and gods, bound, held captive, overwhelmed, crucified and consecrated.
Anointing with oil from a visible plant, a tree that could be seen, had such virtue that those anointed received an undisputed dignity, for this was the recognized way of appointing kings.
David, for example, after his anointing, was immediately exposed to persecutions and afflictions, and then after seven years he became King.
How much more, then, do those who are anointed in mind and heart with the sanctifying and cheering oil of gladness, the heavenly and spiritual unction, receive the seal of that kingdom of incorruptible and eternal power, namely the pledge of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit?
And this Holy Spirit is called the Paraclete because of the encouragement and grace he gives to those who suffer.
Anointed with ointment from the tree of life, Jesus Christ, the heavenly plant, these men are counted worthy to attain perfection, to become kings and adopted sons of God, sharing in the secrets of the heavenly King and enjoying free access to the Almighty.
Even while still in this world they enter his palace, the dwelling-place of the angels and the spirits of the Saints.
For although they are not yet in possession of that perfect inheritance prepared for them in the age to come, they are as fully assured of it through the pledge they have received here on earth as though they were already crowned, already reigning.
Christians find nothing strange in the fact that they are destined to reign in the world to come, since they have known the mysteries of grace beforehand.
When man transgressed the commandment, the devil shrouded the soul with a covering of darkness.
But with the coming of grace the veil is entirely stripped away, so that with clear eyes the soul, now cleansed and restored to its true nature, which was created pure and blameless, ever clearly beholds the glory of the true light, the true Sun of Righteousness, brilliantly shining in its inmost being.
Macarius the Egyptian (c. 300-391) [this homily, like much of the Macarian corpus is generally attributed to the anonymous author known as Pseudo-Macarius): Macarian Homilies 17.1-4 (PG 34:794-6); from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Tuesday of the Fifteenth Week of Ordinary Time, Year I.