Below is an older Mercedes Benz commercial. In it, Satan promises a young man the pleasures of the world if he will just sign on the dotted line. Not only will he get a free Mercedes Benz but all the things supposedly go with it: beautiful women, fame, money, popularity, and excitement.
The man weighs paying the price of the Mercedes against entering into a partnership with the Devil and chooses the former. Do not miss the meaning of the names “Mercedes” (mercy) and “Benz” (brave). Mercy is worth more than anything else, no matter how fleetingly pleasurable; for the mercy of the Lord endures forever while the trinkets of the Devil are but for a time. In financial terms, you might say that mercy has positive leverage while the Devil’s payouts have diminishing returns. If the Devil gives you a payout, you’ll watch it diminish with each passing day, but God’s grace and mercy grow to yield an abundant harvest. There may be the cross and the deferral of pleasure, but just wait until you see the harvest! One must bravely (“benz”) reach out for mercy (“mercedes”).
In the commercial the man considers all of Satan’s trinkets compared to the glories of mercy and chooses mercy. He knows the cost but considers it acceptable if he can but have mercy for himself without the Devil as partner. How about you?
There is a final detail worth noting in the commercial: At the bottom of Satan’s proffered contract are a backward Chi Rho (the Greek abbreviation for “Christ”) and the Latin inscription Sigilla posuere magister diabolus et daemones (master seal of the devil and demons). The backward letters recall an image of the anti-Christ, and the Latin text more literally means “A seal to set the devil and demons (as) master.”
In the end, that is the choice. You will have the master you choose, and the Lord reminds us that we can choose only one:
No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. (Matt 6:24).
Whose coins are in your pocket? Whose seal is on them? The choice is yours. You are free to choose, but you are not free not to choose. You can have it all now, or bravely store it up for later:
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matt 6:19-21).
Why not be Benz (brave) and choose Mercedes (mercy)?
In the end, Scripture is fulfilled for the young man: Resist the Devil and he will flee (James 4:2).
Cross-posted at the Catholic Standard: Mercy Triumphs! (As Seen in a Commercial)
One Reply to “Mercy Triumphs! (As Seen in a Commercial)”
The Latin literally means “[The] Master Devil and demons have placed the seals.” “Posuere” is not an infinitive but an alternative (often used in poetry) to “posuerunt” (they have put/placed/set.). The text may have come from a Satanic pact dating from 1633.
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