Father Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R., often said that if he was granted entrance into heaven, he would be assigned the lowliest of positions. His guess was that he would be assigned to find lost pets. For us pet lovers, that is a very important task, but it also indicates the notion that there are different levels of heaven.
First it must be said that everyone in heaven is completely joy-filled. But the human mind is wired to put things in order. On Earth, we have Kings and Prime Ministers, Generals and Captains and Privates. In our families the Father and Mother are the head of the household, at work the Boss has supervisors under him who have employees under them. The Bible speaks of Principalities and Powers indicating different types of Angels. Saint Augustine and others spoke of Nine Choirs of Angels. On the far opposite end, we have Dante’s Nine Levels of Hell.
The highest realms of heaven are occupied by God Himself, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This mystery of Three Persons in One God we call the Trinity.
Beneath the Trinity we find the Nine Choirs of Angels and these are each divided into three groups of three. Each group signifies how close to God the Beings in that group are. The three groups from highest to lowest are:
1) Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones
2) Dominations, Virtues and Powers
3) Principalities, Archangels and Angels
However, there is another level that must be mentioned and it resides above the Seraphim and below the Trinity. You could reckon it to be Heaven’s Penthouse!
The residents of this level are Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the Holy Family.
Jesus is True God and True Man. Within Him is the Divine Nature and Human Nature. This duality has a name, the Hypostatic Union. The Hypostatic Union is the name of the level above the Seraphim. In the time of the Early Church, this name and this union was much discussed and debated. So much so that Saint Augustine cautioned the men of his flock not to discuss the Hypostatic Union while they were at the Barber as he thought that to be profane.
Mary is the Mother of God and also the Queen of Angels. As Queen, she should be positioned above her subjects. Joseph is the spouse of Mary, her Earthly guardian and the guardian and foster-father of Jesus. Joseph was the head of the Holy Family during its residence on Earth. In their home both Jesus and Mary were obedient to him. Joseph by his obedience shielded Mary from charges of adultery that would have led to her death. Joseph by his obedience took Jesus and Mary safely into Egypt away from the murderous Herod.
God in the form of the Trinity is the very essence and reason heaven exists. All of creation sits below the Trinity and is ordered according to the wishes of God. Closest to God, according to His design, is His Son Jesus with Mary and Joseph, eternally above all of the Angels and lesser inhabitants.
On Earth, Joseph looked down into the face of Jesus while he held the infant in his arms. With his last breath, he gazed up into the faces of Jesus and Mary. Now when he looks up he sees the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and beside him stands Jesus and Mary the Queen of Heaven.