Is heaven a meritocracy?

Full Question

Is heaven a meritocracy? That is, do the declared saints occupy a higher, happier place in heaven? If everyone is equally happy, how can extra works of charity, extra praying, and extra receiving of sacraments in this life do us any good? Or is it that the more souls there are in heaven, the happier it is, so the extra works of are not done in vain but make everyone in heaven more (but still equally) happy?

Answer

Souls will not be equal in beatitude in heaven, though whether one is a declared saint does not of itself make one more blessed in heaven. Neither does the number of other souls in heaven. Being declared a saint or sharing heaven with other souls might give souls more natural happiness, but they would only increase a soul’s beatitude—supernatural happiness—in that the soul recognizes them as things that please God.

The source of beatitude in heaven is God. Frequenting the sacraments and performing acts of charity lead to greater sanctifying grace, which leads to greater capacity to receive God’s beatitude, which leads to greater supernatural happiness in heaven.

Incidentally, the point you make about doing extra good was made in the fourth century by Jerome, who wrote:

It is our task, according to our different virtues, to prepare for ourselves different rewards. . . . If we were all going to be equal in heaven it would be useless for us to humble ourselves here in order to have a greater place there. . . . Why should virgins persevere? Why should widows toil? Why should married women be content? Let us all sin, and after we repent we shall be the same as the apostles are! (Against Jovinian2:32 [A.D. 393])









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2 comments

  1. Tom Rafferty Reply

    “The source of beatitude in heaven is God. Frequenting the sacraments and performing acts of charity lead to greater sanctifying grace, which leads to greater capacity to receive God’s beatitude, which leads to greater supernatural happiness in heaven.” Just HOW do you know ANY of this is true? Can it be verified outside of Christianity?

  2. Patrick Gannon Reply

    How can there be a meritocracy when everyone is a zombie? The prayer says, “thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." That’s Yahweh’s will, not ours. We must lose free will in heaven, otherwise how could any decent person be happy, knowing billions of people were suffering for eternity in hellfire? Only by wiping our minds clear of every decent, human feeling we have for each other, could we accept the evil that Yahweh propagates on those who were born sick, and commanded to be well, but fell short of the target. How could anyone find peace and joy if they still had their minds, and their consciousness and they knew that millions upon millions of innocents who committed the grievous sin of dying before being baptized, were languishing in Hell or the mythical Limbo, never to be “saved." How could any decent person find joy in that?
    .
    The only way to achieve a blissful state in heaven is if you strip away every decent thing about humanity, such that we would not care about the fate of those whom Yahweh sentenced to eternal suffering – particularly those who were completely innocent. Fortunately there is no more evidence for this zombie heaven than there is for eternal hell.

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