Living for the Audience of One
Flawed. If there is one word that aptly describes the human race
and human nature, this is it. Those of us who are given to
introspection of even the remotest seriousness will attest to the
truth of that statement, discovering as we do the numerous abrasions
and inclusions in our psyches. Even those among us who shine
with the brilliance of diamonds are like some of the stones: perfect
to look at unless examined closely. Yet, perfection is what we are
called to. “Be perfect,” Jesus said, “as your heavenly Father is
perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) The question is: How does one attain
A good way to begin is by believing that it is, indeed, possible to
attain it. After all, we were created in the very image and likeness
of God, who is perfection personified. If we aren’t perfect today
it is because the world has shaped us into what we have become;
we need to be reshaped into what we were created to be. There are
some who will insist that it isn’t possible to be like that anymore.
It may very well not be possible for us to achieve perfection on
our own strength; but what is impossible by human endeavour is
certainly possible by the grace of God. (cf Luke 18:27)
A fine way to proceed is by drawing encouragement from men and
women in the world who were severely flawed, but went on to
lead exemplary lives. King David is one such person who
immediately comes to mind. Anointed of God and admired by his
people, he had a weakness for women that led to adultery and,
eventually, to murder. Yet, once he was convicted of the errors of
his ways, he radically changed himself and went on to lead a life
that was immensely pleasing to God.
Yet another famous Biblical figure is St. Mary Magdalene. Possessed
by seven demons who, presumably, made her do a whole lot of
unholy things until they were cast out by Jesus, Mary of Magdala
went on to become one of the most devoted disciples of Christ.
Other people closer to our own age also provide inspiration and
hope. St Francis of Assisi was a street brawler and a part time
soldier until his capture during a conflict between Assisi and
Perugia, where he had a conversion of heart. When he was released
he began to take his faith seriously, ending up as one of the most
beloved saints of all time.
St Augustine was another severely delinquent person. Though raised
as a good Catholic he fell away from the faith and lived a
debauched, hedonistic life, wayward to the extreme, until a series
of experiences triggered off drastic changes in his life. Today he
is yet another bright star in the Christian firmament.
All these men and women provide inspiration and hope—and
instruction. While the wise among us undoubtedly learn from their
own mistakes, the wiser among us learn from the mistakes of
others, and there is much to be learned from these people. By
reading about the stories of their journey—very often painful—
from sinner to saint, we can obtain valuable lessons for our own
journey towards the same goal.
This book that you hold in your hand contains many such lessons.
Dr. Dominic Dixon still has a long way to go to becoming a
perfect saint, but he has made remarkable progress on his journey
there thus far. It hasn’t been an easy journey—it never is—but his
courage and resilience in the face of difficulties is inspirational,
and the insights that he has discovered along the way are profound.
He shares many of these experiences and insights in this book,
which is a wonderful combination of personal testimony, Scriptural
reference and human psychology. It will be a useful guide, not
only for those eager to grow spiritually, but also to those who
want to pursue the call in public ministry.
And we would do well to continually remind ourselves, as we read
it, that we should always play to an exclusive Audience, The
Audience of One, who is the Holy One who calls us to perfection.
May the Spirit be with you!