Are there different degrees of reward in Heaven ?

Are there different degrees of reward in Heaven ?
This question was posed not long ago through a friend.   This brings about an interesting question and since we really dont have a vast understanding of the nature of Heaven aside from some of the writings of the Apostles, and mystics, it might cause some to wonder about this question.

We need a little background  for this we turn to Romans 2:6-11

” (God) who will repay everyone according to his works,

eternal life to those who seek glory, honor, and immortality through perseverance in good works,

but wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth and obey wickedness.

Yes, affliction and distress will come upon every human being who does evil, Jew first and then Greek.

But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good, Jew first and then Greek.

There is no partiality with God. ”
So, there are interesting parts of this.. In this section of scripture Paul is explaining to the pagans and the Jews that there will be a price to pay for their stubborness in their ways.

The first part of this verse says that God will repay everyone according to their works.  Seek to do good works and then persevere in seeking Honor, glory and immortality.   I might lead one to think that you might gain insurmountable wealth in Heaven..
heck you might get a huge mansion which would be better than the shack your neighbor got because he didnt work as hard as you did, and so you deserve it !

This manner of thinking is a slippery slope into the sin of pride amongst other things.

Here is the other side of the coin.  It was God given grace that gives us the urgings to do good works.
We get the promptings of the spirit as the result of a well formed conscience, that leads us to do good works.

So even the works that you do are not really your own.  Yes, we have free will, and we could refuse those promptings and persists in some other form of sin.  Since we already know that these are the urgings and promptings of the Spirit, then how can we claim those as prize.
Lets dig a little more.

In John 14:2 is the verse ” In my fathers house there are many mansions, if it were not so I would have told you, I am going to prepare a place for you there”.

In this verse, the term “mansion” is not what we think of today a huge house with many rooms and winding staircases etc..  In this case a “mansion” was a word that was used to mean a a dwelling in a family home.  These are places where extended family both by blood and marriage would live.    He went to prepare a place for us there in that kind of close family environment.

THis idea flys in the face of the idea that there would be that kind of materialistic reward.

The Catechism (CCC#2007)  shares ” With regard to God, ther eis no strict right to any meriton the part of man.  Between God and us there is an immeasurable inequality , for we ahve recieved everything from Him , our Creator”.

(CCC#2008) ” The merit of man before God in the Christian life  arises from the fact that God as freely chosen to associate man with the work of His grace”.  … SO that the merit of good works is to be attributed in the first place to the grace of God, and then to the faithful.  Man’s merit moreover, itself is due to God, for his good actisons proceeed in Christ, from the predispositions and assistance given by the Holy Spirit.”
Lactantius had the following to say :

“”Let every one train himself to righteousness, mold himself to self-restraint, prepare himself for the contest, equip himself for virtue . . . [and] in his uprightness acknowledge the true and only God, may cast away pleasures, by the attractions of which the lofty soul is depressed to the earth, may hold fast innocence, may be of service to as many as possible, may gain for himself incorruptible treasures by good works, that he may be able, with God for his judge, to gain for the merits of his virtue either the crown of faith, or the reward of immortality” (Epitome of the Divine Institutes 73 [A.D. 317]).

Here is the crux of the matter.  The reward for living a good and holy life, that of virtue, of morals, and struggling for the goodness of God and for His greater glory is not of riches in the human idea of wealth.  Instead it is faith, and immortality in Heaven with God.

Here again we see how simple our faith can be.  Those things that we learned so long ago in the Catechism we were taught as young children,  Our purpose, is to know God, to Love God , to serve God, so that we can be with God in Heaven…. Amen !

May God give you the gift of His peace !

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