Jesus said to (the rich young man), "If you want to be perfect, sell what you own. Give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then follow me!"They wanted to follow Jesus' own example and go out into the desert to fast and pray. Unable to duplicate the arid conditions of the Desert Fathers in the Middle East the ever creative Irish came up with the idea of "green martyrdom".
Three types of martyrdom
Red martyrdom is the most obvious and involves literally giving up one's life for Christ. (Note that in Christianity, this does NOT involve killing one's self, but being killed by others for one's faith.) White martyrdom is giving up one's home for Christian evangelization. This is what St. Patrick did. Patrick was originally from Britain and was sold as a slave to Ireland. After returning to Britain, Patrick went back to Ireland to help evangelize the island.
Green martyrdom is "the daily struggle for goodness and purity, the shedding of bad habits and routines that separate us from God. We must wrestle daily with our baser nature." (~Christopher Bygonaise)
It is indeed a type of martyrdom to continually strive to live a life that Christ would have us live; to avoid sins, both heinous and common, and to go to Jesus, ask for His grace and beg for His forgiveness. If society was ever truly "Christian", it is not Christian now. As many people are discovering, sin is firmly planted, even within church communities.
It is part of our fallen human nature to blame others. It is so easy as to be almost unconscious in most of us. But, we need look no further than our own souls to see what is ailing society. Following Christ takes the true freedom of death to self. We cannot do it alone. We must unite ourselves to Christ.
God bless Saint Patrick! Saint Patrick, pray for us!