Does my lack of gray hair reveal that I haven't led a good life?

“Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by virtuous living.” Is this still true? Above quote is Proverbs 16:5. I am 55 years old and have a full head of brown hair with just a few gray hairs on my head but a full gray beard.

This really kinds scares me. I know I haven’t lived a very good life but is that now apparent for everyone to see?

Dear Chris,

The proverbs in the Book of Proverbs are just proverbs. They are not meant to be taken literally. The passage before it reads: “He who closes his eyes meditates mischief; he who purses his lips has already done wrong.” We all close our eyes frequently, but obviously this doesn’t mean that we a planning mischief. Pursing one’s lips does not automatically mean that we have done wrong.

I found that passage you mention in my Bible, but as Proverbs 16:31—not 16:5. It reads: “White hairs are a crown of honor, they are found in the paths of virtue.” It’s basically an affirmation of the elderly. There have been some very great scoundrels who have had grey hair. But ordinarily in one’s lifetime it is in old age that we attain wisdom if we attain any.

If you have repented of your sins and have received absolution in Confession for them, they are not only not visible on your body, your soul is completely free of them as well.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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