There’s probably MUCH more to it than that. An American Jesuit, Fr. Donald J. Keefe SJ, has a brilliant concept of how our part in Christ’s suffering works. I haven‘t read his work, which is said to be very arcane, but John Kelleher, a layman, has summarized and illustrated his ideas in:
If I have understood right, Fr. Keefe‘s idea is something like this:
In Adam all died. A corpse is just a thing, prey to the forces of causality and chaos, on its way to disintegration. Heredity, environment, brain chemistry, metabolism, entropy, that‘s it. No free will. That‘s what we are as heirs to original sin, and that‘s what the Son of God became – truly and fully became: unfree, then dead.
Why? We, being dead, don‘t have a way out of our meaningless slavery to blind external forces. Christ, being God, has a way in: it‘s called the Eucharist. In the Eucharist, Christ‘s salvific work – his becoming what we are, with all the consequences – is re-presented, made historical in the sense of being our story, unbound from time (2000 years ago) to become eternal (NOT timeless, but „now and here“ for St. Paul in the first century, „now and here“ for you and for me in the twenty-first, „now and here“ for the Saints in heaven and the souls in Purgatory). Humans – all humans – have lives that deserve to be called that because, and only because, Christ‘s work at every valid Mass authors His Covenant with His Bride, the Church. As free partnership is the nature of a covenant, so we stand in free relation even to God – from which follows that we are capable of surprising Him, of bringing something truly our own (our own because Christ‘s deed made us free beings that have something of their own) to the relationship.
Mr. Kelleher, in illustrating Fr. Keefe‘s theology, told as example the medieval legend of the juggler who, having nothing else to give in homage to Our Lady, juggled in front of her statue, and from her statue she – surprised – smiled at him. All that we do, dishwashing and brilliant theology and obeying Church precepts and heroic suffering included, is basically just juggling. In and of itself there may not be much to it, but it‘s our connection to the Covenant, our part in the work – Christ‘s to give us Himself in the Eucharist, ours to receive Communion; Christ‘s to liberate, ours to be liberated, not in the abstract, but in concrete, free, responsive acts in time. Our work is real and effective for the salvation of the world like His – not by condescending fiction („the children helped me paint the house“), but because it takes two to make a covenant, and the Covenant is what saves.