This is No Time for Business

Back in Italy, business was proceeding as usual. Several men were locked in a spacious upper apartment hammering out the details of their projected monthly expenditures. Michael Ghislieri, who was in charge of the meeting, deplored the minutiae of these financial concerns but tried his best to listen intently to each and every detail because he knew that money was short. Every coin had to be stretched to its maximum benefit.

Several hours into the meeting however, right around 5 o’clock, Michael became distracted. The others didn’t notice as he gingerly rose from his seat and moved trance-like to the window on the opposite side of the room. He stopped there and gazed intently upon the eastern horizon.

Meanwhile, Bartolomeo Busotti, the treasurer of the group, came upon a slight irregularity in the math he had been proofing and verbalized his concern to Michael. Receiving no acknowledgment of his words, he raised his eyes from his papers and saw the now-empty chair, “Oh …”

He spun around and saw Michael standing in the window. He watched him silently for several minutes. When the old man’s shoulders began to ever so slightly convulse, he tapped the arms of the others to alert them that it might be time to break for dinner.

“Your Holiness …” Busotti spoke softly.

Pope Pius V turned from the bright window, tears streaming down his cheeks, "This is no time for business. Go and thank God. Our fleet has just won."

At the very same moment on October 7th, 1571, about 600 miles to the east, Don John of Austria and his crew were hauling down the colors on the Turkish commander’s flagship. Up went the standard of the Holy League. The Battle of Lepanto was ended. Christendom and the West were safe again. For now.

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