Theologian, Rosalind Brown talks of three forms of martyrdom:
‘Red Martyrdom’ is shedding your blood for Christ, as did the early Christians and some in the Middle-East today.
‘White Martyrdom’ is separating yourself for God’s sake from everything you hold dear, choosing the way of exile for the sake of Christ. Monastic life or missionary vocations could fit this category.
‘Green Martyrdom’ is the unseen, inner-way of daily repentance, refusing to be controlled by one’s desires, self-sacrifice without leaving home. It leads to commitment, discipline, self-control and a simplicity of life because love for Christ re-orientates our priorities.
The consequence for ‘green martyrdom’ which, hopefully, is where most of us find ourselves, is martyrdom without dying, or, presenting our bodies to God as living and holy sacrifices, as Paul would have it.
And we best refine these techniques of ‘green martyrdom’ out there in day-to-day life, in situations when we really need them.
Paul then goes on to say, ‘judge yourself according to the amount of faith that God has given you’, meaning more faith – harsher judgement.
Clearly that means that we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others who may have more or less faith than ourselves. But it also relates to the fact that over time our faith will grow or even fluctuate. Hence, our judgement should only relate to the quantum of faith we have in the here and now – not yesterday or last year.
Then the last words in Paul’s writing emphasise that we all have different skills to use for the glory of God. Furthermore we should not compare or judge our abilities with others because there is no point of comparison – apples and oranges. Nevertheless, we are all part of one body which could mean that the body could be judged from time to time; this year to last year, or, our Parish to another maybe.
Peace be with you.