These both are referring to the fact that even though all in Heaven will see God face-to-face (the beatific visions), those who lived more virtuous and holy lives, will be more perfectly united to Him.This confuses me because I thought that through Purgatory, we are cleansed of our original sin and w/e else we might've clung to on Earth, and then purified, ready for Heaven. It doesn't make sense to me that some people would be more "perfectly united" with God than others? Wouldn't that be like ranking people and what they do?
A - Thanks for the question. There are not "levels" to heaven, as if we are in different places. Rather, each of us who make it to heaven will enjoy "degrees" of heaven. So, depending on what level we lived a life of holiness on earth, we will be perfected in that holiness in heaven.
The bible implies this in the following passages:
"For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father's glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct." -Matt 16:27
"The one who plants and the one who waters are equal, and each will receive wages in proportion to his labor." -1 Cor 3:8
"Consider this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully." - 2 Cor 9:6Think of our holiness on earth in this way. God gives us His grace, which is His divine life poured into our souls. When He gives us His life, He gives an infinite amount - similar to a never-ending waterfall of grace.
We are the containers who catch His grace. Those who are more holy will catch more grace. John Paul II and Mother Teresa are swimming pools. I am a dixie cup. To the degree we cooperate with God's grace on earth at the moment we die - we will be made perfect in that grace and holiness. This is the reason there are "degrees" of heaven for us. We will all experience it to the level we are made capable and to the level we merit. But, all of our containers will be full.
I hope this helps.