Antonio Barzagli had ruled the streets of Brescia, Italy for 23 years. 1982 was the year he ascended the throne of Godfather. He did so by eliminating Don Corleone in one of the most ruthless cases of betrayals the streets had ever known.
Having served Corleone since childhood, Antonio had gained his trust. As the Consigliere, he performed his duties with great distinction. Insiders reported that the Boss rated him higher than his own biological son. All these made the events of June 3, 1982 the more surprising.
Antonio had waited for the opportunity for years and he wasn’t going to let it waste. Killing the Boss wasn’t the problem; his concern was how he would execute that without breeding enemies for himself. An idea came.
Three hours later, Don Corleone took his last breath with a look of disbelief and anger. His last words: “Et tu, Antonio?” A Latin sentence meaning “Even you, Antonio?”
The moment Antonio emerged from the inner chamber with the dead body of Don Corleone in his hands signalled the beginning of a dynasty. Antonio was ruthless in destroying the foot soldiers who were loyal to the boss. He bribed, bullied and butchered people, in each situation choosing the option he felt best. The streets knew. This wasn’t a man to be messed with.
On his 50th birthday in 2002, Antonio made a decision to step back from active duty. He had groomed people who were loyal to him, out of fear of what disloyalty would mean. He channeled the funds he had into legitimate businesses including casinos, automobile stores and the movie industry. He never forgot how he got to the throne, so he made it a point of duty to keep everyone at arm’s length. No one born of a woman could be trusted.
October 2, 2005. Antonio woke up restless. He needed the thrill of battle. Looking round, he realized that he had all a man could want but that was not enough for him. He wanted more.
He wanted the joy of pulling the trigger and seeing a place go from serene to scattered. He wanted the feeling of invincibility that came with departing a crime scene knowing he would never be caught. He wanted it. He needed it desperately.
He opened his safe and reached for Brandy. Brandy was the pistol he used to eliminate Don Corleone and signal the start of his reign.
He wanted one more hit. One more high. One more operation. After which he would finally step out of the game.
History has it that few minutes before he left his inner chambers, his wife, Regina, approached him and told him she had a dream where she saw him lying in a pool of blood. He dismissed her claims as that of a paranoid woman and ordered her out of the room.
What followed next was a bloodbath of epic proportions that signalled the end of Antonio’s life. One more became no more.
Ire: We look at Antonio and wonder why he wanted one more. We wonder why he didn’t realize he was privileged to have survived decades of battle. We wonder why he risked it all for one more operation.
However if we look closely, there are times when we act like Antonio. When a person who has been sober for months goes in search of a drink because he can’t take it any longer. When a person who has been celibate for years decides to have a one night stand because “body no be wood”. When a person clicks that link after staying away from those pornographic sites for so long.
For Antonio, one more became no more.
For Samson, one more became no more.
May we remember this when next we are tempted to say “One more…”
May we not take God’s grace for granted.
May we have the strength to walk away from the things that have held us back for so long.
May we come boldly to the throne of grace to obtain mercy in times of need.
May we embrace the Grace that brings salvation and teaches us to say No.