I don't think there is a Catholic version of the Tzadikim Nistarim, but I do remember coming across something a tad similar when reading Sister Faustina's diary. In it, we hear Christ say the following:
"There are souls living in the world who love Me dearly. I dwell in their hearts with delight. But they are few. In convents too, there are souls that fill My Heart with joy. They bear My features (...). Their number is very small. They are a defense for the world before the justice of the Heavenly Father and a means of obtaining mercy for the world. The love and sacrifice of these souls sustain the world in existence" (Diary 367)Before reading "On Heaven and Earth," I often wondered who these loving souls were and if I was one of them. I think I have a long way to go before I can love God as I wish to love him because I hope to one day love God with a heart as fervent as that of St. Francis of Assisi and countless other saints who devoted their entire lives to serving God). When looking out for the people whose hearts have become a dwelling place for Christ, I often think of saints like St. Faustina Kowalska and Padre Pio. They certainly pleased God during their time on earth and probably helped countless souls due to their prayers, sacrifices, and suffering.
|Image Credit: Our Catholic Prayers|
You probably have a few church ladies at your home church. These are the older ladies you often see in an otherwise empty church, adoring Christ in the Eucharist or praying fervently for their grandchildren and families. Sometimes, when I find myself praying in the chapel after confession, I suddenly find myself surrounded by a gaggle of tiny, Filipino women praying the rosary and doing the stations of the cross together. The older these women are, the more I appreciate them. The more I see of them, the more I love them. Though some of them carry stern expressions, the lines on their faces tell another story. There is joy in these women. Behind every stern reminder to their grandchildren to be quiet in the house of God, there is love. Love for God and love for the child they wish to teach. These women probably have bodies that are more in pain than ours on any given day, and yet they will kneel on the cold, marble floor of the Church when pansy Catholics, such as myself on occasion, prefer the comfort of padded pews. Perhaps these oft-unnoticed women are the Tzadikim Nistarim....or the holy souls that fill Christ's heart with joy.
...or maybe the Tzadikim Nistarim are the brothers and sisters out there in the humble convents and monasteries. They don't attempt to ride buses to campaign for certain candidates. However, they will march and pray barefoot in DC every year in silent defense of the unborn. Like Padre Pio, they take their vow of obedience seriously, knowing that their obedience to their superior is their obedience to Christ.
...or maybe the Tzadikim Nistarim are the innocent children of the world. I am often caught off-guard by the level of empathy children have for others. As awful as some kids can be, there are always children out there who will seek to comfort those who are sad or care for those who need help. I could tell you all kinds of stories about my little cousins or some of my previous students who performed random acts of kindness simply because it was the right thing to do and not because they could write it off during tax time.
...or maybe the Tzadikim Nistarim are those who suffer for God. These can be terminally ill patients that offer up their suffering in union with that of Christ's for the salvation of the world. I remember my family once visiting a very old relative of my dad's at a nursing home. This woman was so bent with age and sickness that she could barely lie down straight. She was in the last stages of her illness and suffered greatly, but if you were to look in her eyes you saw the promise of heaven. I will never forget how her eyes were fixed on a small image of Christ on the Cross, which hung above her bed. Her entire focus was on that image and her eyes were on fire with the love she had in her heart. This woman died with dignity and probably brought many souls with her to God through her intercession and suffering as a victim soul.
...and there are countless other holy souls out there who could potentially be one of the people in whom God takes delight in a world that always seems to get worse and worse.
Who knows, perhaps you too could one day become one of these holy souls if you put a bit more effort into loving and serving God and your fellow man.