In our radically egalitarian modern minds, people believe that all men are equal. This isn’t only untrue on a physical and natural order, but it is also untrue in the spiritual order. Heaven and Hell have degrees to them, levels if you will. In this life it is possible to merit a higher place in the Kingdom of Heaven. This can be done by doing good works in the state of grace, but only in the state of grace. Good works done in the state of mortal sin, are still good works, but merit nothing in the eyes of God. Now some may be wondering if by being put into the lowest place in heaven means that it won’t be that great compared to a higher place. Nay, it is said the lowest place in heaven is infinitely more glorious then anything imaginable. No suffering exists, therefore even the lowest order is desirable. One may also be wondering why heaven is ordered as I say. Once must look at the angelic order to understand this. The angelic order is hierarchal with 9 orders of angels (which I shall discuss in a follow up post). After the rebellion and the fall of 1/3 of heaven it created empty spots. Man, based on his merits can attain a higher place or a lower place in heaven. It is said the the Virgin Mary maintains the highest place in heaven, (besides the Trinity of course) the place that Lucifer once held before his fall.
The same thing goes for hell. Depending on your gravity and degree of sin, you can fall to a lower place in hell. This is why the Catholic Church allowed capital punishment. This is because their are some people so habitual and obstinate in their sin that putting them to death is considered doing them a favor so they don’t further lower themselves in their place in hell.
If you want to listen to good sermons, check out Sensus Traditionis. Type it into google. I recommend listening to “Last Four Things” sermons. It is something I listen to regularly because like most humans I am weak and those sermons always snap me back into the reality of dying in sin and how grave such things are.