Have you ever embellished a story?

Let’s start this morning with a little bit of an English lesson.

First the definition of Embellish…

Definition of embellish

transitive verb 1: to make beautiful with ornamentation DECORATE a book embellished with illustrations 2: to heighten the attractiveness of by adding decorative or fanciful details ENHANCE embellished our account of the trip

Next, how it can also be used as a euphemism…

Embellish differs from its synonyms, however, in that it is sometimes used in a euphemistic way to refer to the inclusion of details that are not necessarily true to make a story sound more appealing. The word derives via Middle English from the Anglo-French verb embelir, from en– and bel (“beautiful”).

All that to bring us to our first reading…

The LORD God called to Adam and asked him, “Where are you?”
He answered, “I heard you in the garden;
but I was afraid, because I was naked,
so I hid myself.”
Then he asked, “Who told you that you were naked?
You have eaten, then,
from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!”
The man replied, “The woman whom you put here with me 
she gave me fruit from the tree, and so I ate it.”
The LORD God then asked the woman,
“Why did you do such a thing?”
The woman answered, “The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it.”

How many times have we sinned, done wrong, and were called out on it only to add a few embellishments in order to make it sound like maybe it wasn’t really our fault, or point a finger in another direction to deflect the blame from us.

Let me relate to you a short story that happened a few years back in our house. We had moved back to St. Louis (from Decatur) and at the time, the family room was the lower level of our house. Our children had strict rules not to eat or drink (especially RED Kool-Aid) in this room because it was carpeted. I don’t want to mention specific names (because everyone of our kids broke the rule), but their first initials are Mary and Ruth. They were in the family room, eating and drinking and, of course, the drink spilled all over the carpet. My wife Sarah went down after she heard the commotion (all the other brothers and sisters shouting out to Sarah about the wrong that had just been committed) and reprimanded the two girls and sent them back upstairs to their room. On their way up the stairs, the two girls were blaming each other for the wrong they did and it was then that one of Ruth’s most famous quotes came out of her mouth. “Mary, this was all your fault because you HYPNOTIZED ME.” We still laugh about that to this day.

We see the same thing in our first reading. God asks direct questions of both Adam and Eve and neither of them replied with yes, I disobeyed Your command (the truth) but immediately pointed a finger in order to pass the blame onto someone or something else.

I know I’ve done it. But it isn’t necessary. We all sin. And when we sin, we should be humble enough to accept full responsibility for it. There is no need to embellish the wrong we’ve done before God – He knows the truth because He is the TRUTH. There is no need to point fingers and try to pass the blame onto someone else. We chose to sin and if we freely make that choice, then we should freely accept the consequences that come with it.

Do something great for our Lord today…accept the fact that we have all sinned BUT accept the fact that God has the ultimate power to forgive all of those sins and He does this through the sacrament of confession.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

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