Hold up for a minute. You’re trying to tell me there are LEVELS in heaven? What is that about?
We have a unity in heaven, but we won’t all experience heaven in the same way, said Cale Clarke in an episode of The Faith Explained. “The way that you will experience heaven will correspond to your faithfulness to God on earth. You see, in so many ways this new city is being built now on earth. We will receive rewards in the afterlife corresponding to how we conformed our will to God’s will for our lives on planet earth.”
I know what you’re thinking… Wait, what? How is that fair? Cale offers a similar (though opposite) example of the reality of hell that might make things easier for you to understand.
“All of this has to do with God’s justice. A mass-murderer who perhaps ordered a genocide of millions of people will be punished more harshly in the afterlife, assuming he doesn’t repent, of course, than a person who lives down the street from you and he’s basically a nice guy by the world’s standards but refused to believe in God or to turn to Christ to deal with his sin problem,” explained Cale.
Does that make a bit more sense? Here’s another way we can think about it. “Heaven starts off amazing—unspeakably amazing—and it only gets better from there based on the rewards God gives us for our faithfulness. Think about Our Lady. No one in heaven is going to shine brighter or reflect God’s glory more than She does,” Cale said.
Perhaps you’re still wondering how an all-loving God could separate us into different levels in a place that is supposed to be pure joy and happiness? Fr. Richard Simon, host of Father Simon SaysTM, offered some helpful clarification.
“It isn’t that God imposes levels on us; we impose levels on ourselves. It isn’t that God says, ‘I like you better than I like him,’” he explained. “In this world, we develop a capacity to love and to be loved. And if I don’t develop that capacity to the fullest, well I’m at a different level of loving and being loved than you are.”
He related our life on earth to the nine months that a child spends in the womb of his or her mother. That infant spends nine months being developed, growing, and being affected by the actions of their mother—her diet, her habits, and her care (or even lack-thereof). However, while a child in the womb has no freedom to choose what happens to them before birth, we do have the free will now to choose what will happen to us in eternal life. Therefore, our life here on earth is extremely important in influencing how well we learn to love and be loved in the life to come.
Tune in to The Faith Explained with Cale Clarke weekdays at 12:30-1pm CT only on Relevant Radio®.