I am monotonous. In the words of one of the characters from the popular Irish sitcom, ‘Father Ted,’ ‘I have a fierce boring and dreary voice.’
While this is not the case all the time, this is something I’ve had said about me on several occasions. It’s not that nice to hear but it wasn’t said in an uncharitable way. It was said to help me in terms of public speaking.
One of the things we have to do in seminary is Homiletics. This is where we learn and practise the art of writing and delivering a good sermon. Here in Rome I have many opportunities to do this and this has brought to my attention that I could afford to gain a bit more excitement in how I speak. So, I have tried to inject a certain amount more drama into the way I speak whenever I find myself at the ambo.
It is important to be open to constructive criticism so that we can work on improving ourselves. It is so easy to react angrily or bitterly to criticism. One thing that can help us in reacting with a spirit of self reflection is judging whether or not a person is trying to help you with their criticism or just trying to make themselves feel better by being mean. If they say something you have done or a changeable quality you have is ‘bad/wrong/annoying etc’ then it is probable they just want to help you. If, on the other hand, they say YOU are bad/wrong/annoying etc then they are just being mean. You shouldn’t worry about what they think- to use another phrase from Father Ted ‘feck’ them.
Be humble enough to open yourself to constructive criticism and productive self reflection.
(Note: Feck is not that bad a word in Ireland- it is not the same as it’s ‘cousin.’ Ciao!)