1. Beginner: this person still has a strong affection for mortal sin
2. Advanced: the person who cannot abstain from venial sin; and who; because of attachment to earthly things, are still in a state of warfare
3. Perfect: the person whose heart is completely detached from the earth and given to God; and who consequently are entirely at peace within themselves
They correspond to the three stages of man’s development; childhood (the period of mental and physical weakness); adolescence (the period of development); and manhood (the period of maturity).
St. Ignatius advises the beginner to consider the four last things (death, judgement, heaven or hell); the advanced to consideration of the Passion of Our Lord; on the Perfect contemplation of the divine goodness and of heavenly joys.
Everyone is capable of being a saint no matter what their position or circumstance; because no one is incapable of loving. Pious practises should be adapted to one’s occupation and duties.