As a former evangelical, I have always been interested in our Church’s (and even some Protestant group’s) notion of degrees of reward in Heaven and degrees of punishment in Hell. What is a light reward in heaven like as opposed to a great reward? What about the same question for Hell? Is the guy who receives a light punishment in Hell, in some part, happy because he knows it could have been worse?
First of all, while I believe in different degrees of rewards and punishments, it’s not required for Catholics to believe that. Mystics write about such things in private revelation, but Jesus told a parable of the servants in the field all receiving the same wages. The Bible says very little about the specifics of heaven and hell.
Here’s my understanding, everyone in heaven will be perfectly happy–as happy as they can possible be and more than they can imagine here on earth. Remember the Bible does say that eye has not seen and ear has not heard what God has ready for those who love Him. Metaphorically speaking, all our “cups” will be full, but we may have different sized “cups” relating the how we lived on earth. God will give us as much joy and happiness as we are capable of, but different souls may be capable of different amounts.
On the down side, various mystics have also written about several various level in hell. (Lowest level reserved for those who worshipped devils on earth.) I doubt that there is any happiness in hell for any reason whatsoever.