I get to my question at the bottom, but it seems helpful to preface the question with an understanding of where I am coming from…
In Catholicism, if I have it right, we believe redemption (and salvation) comes through Jesus having paid our ransom through his most precious body and blood offered on the cross and in his resurrection.
The word “ransom”, which is sometimes used in the New Testament to describe Christ’s passion, has always been a bit too disconcerting to understand, but my recent contemplations on redemption seem to make it clear.
To understand redemption (at least literally) is easy to illustrate. It used to be - if you bought a bottle of soda, you pay a $.10 deposit on the bottle. The store would redeem your $.10 when you returned the bottle; or conversely, when you redeemed the bottle, they would refund your $.10. Redemption by ransom started with the fall of man. Tricked by Satan, we became captives of sin, and God demanded some sort of atonement. It’s a mystery, I think, as to how and why God would need to pay off (or redeem) the devil, as if we were being held hostage - but Christ’s sacrifice on the cross ransomed us. We receive the saving graces which redeem us when we practice the sacraments.
There’s a sort of problem, however…
While Christ’s work was the fulfillment of the prophecies in the Old Testament - which heralded the advent of the New Testament - Christ’s work was still somewhat “incomplete”… I can explain my use of the term “incomplete” in terms of justice and suffering - when, for instance, we are sick and urged to unite our sufferings to those of Christ on the cross - to “offer it up to God”, as they say, when whatever “it” is, is a sort of unjust suffering we must endure. This seems to be a problem of distributive and/or commutative justice.
Anyway, if we are “to give it up”, yes, I think we can and should ask for Jesus’ help in the sacraments, obviously… But - when it comes to redeeming ourselves - what else are we supposed to do? Is there a general answer? Or is our course of action dependent upon a situation? Essentially - what I am trying to ask is - how does one “DIY” redeem onesself? I feel like I am missing or omitting something. Where am I going wrong?