Humility: The Greatest Lesson I've Learned In 30 Years of Talk Radio
April 22, 2022 Marks The 30th Anniversary of The Mike Church Show, Here's What I'd Like Listeners To Know About It.
In Paradise there are many Saints who never gave alms on earth: their poverty justified them. There are many Saints who never mortified their bodies by fasting, or wearing hair shirts: their bodily infirmities excused them. There are many Saints too who were not virgins: their vocation was otherwise. But in Paradise there is no Saint who was not humble. - Fr. Gaetano Maria de Bergamo, Humility of Heart
Back in 2013, the words of Fr. Bergamo inspired me so much that I took his then out of print masterpiece and put it back into print, I only wish I’d found the book a few decades earlier because the topic of Humility is the one that guides nearly all human affairs. Without pursuing it — as St Augustine says, the moment you think you’ve “got it” is the moment that you realize you don’t — in all our human interactions, there can be no human flourishing i.e. true “success”.
Now, you’re probably wondering “Mitter Chur, please! what does this have to do with your show’s 30th birthday”!?
Pride is a killer and it doesn’t discriminate. Pride kills every human activity and action it comes in contact with and works to destroy any Charitable intent you may have had at the start because it is The Original Sin.
And the serpent said to the woman: No, you shall not die the death. For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil. And the woman saw that the tree was good to eat, and fair to the eyes, and delightful to behold: and she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave to her husband who did eat.
To survive in this age for more than 30 weeks in any “job” is a blessing, 30 months a minor miracle but 30 years, “inconceivable”! I would argue that choosing to survive in any one “job” for any extended period of time is impossible without humility and the least of that is accepting that the vocation itself is an art-form; that it’s bigger than you and will survive your puny attempts to master it; that ultimately what must drive your ambition to work at it is love. This can only be done with humility because this is not the love of the corporeal pleasures of money and “fame” or whatever emoluments that may come your way, it is the love of the art and art can only be made by seeking the Good, True and Beautiful. That Trinity is the mark of God in all His Creation and any deviation from defending any of the 3 is the work of Pride.
Let me now answer the question nagging you, fair reader, am I suggesting that there is “Good, True and Beautiful” in talk-radio broadcasting. Yes! and every day I go to a 4 hour clinic on seeking them out, exploring and dissecting them with my sense skills and intellect, then form them for “broadcast” through the art-form that is oration. Pride can and does ruin this process and I’ve had thousands of ruined batches of 4 hour orations! But, over the decades, I had an advocate watching over me and constantly nudging me back to the path God had chosen Her to keep me on. In 2013 I finally got glimpse of Her presence and surrendered to Her as Virgil may have surrendered to a muse (who may have been Mary!).
Her name is Mary.
There is no grace that our Blessed Lady asks so willingly of Jesus for her devotees, and which Jesus concedes so willingly to Mary as the grace of humility, since both Jesus and Mary hold this virtue in singular affection. - Humility of Heart
The most important thing I have learned through this pursuit of humility is if there is an evil to be identified, tried and convicted on air (and there is a never-ending supply in this age!), there is something of superior worth, in God’s eyes, that has been injured by the evil; something Good, True and Beautiful and that must be the Final Cause of the trial and conviction. In almost every instance of this, accolades and lucrative rewards will not be the payment one will receive nor Human respect (quite the opposite) but as Fr. Bergamo reminds us of holy Job’s quest to conquer Pride with Humility.
“He smelleth the battle afar off, and the shouting of the army.”
In 30 years of daily being blessed with broadcasting The Mike Church Show I have received a sack of email “hate-mail” that Santa would refuse to carry in just one trip and the ones that I recall most of all are those who hurl accusations of “ulterior motives”, “treason…you’re a traitor” and in my business dealings “I’ll pursue legal action against your criminal activities” and/or “theft”. Oh, how many hundreds of times have I wanted to send correspondents copies of William F. Buckley’s brutally funny “Cancel Your Own G-d Damn Subscription!” book. But in many of those, somewhere there are lessons to be learned or improvement/adjustment to be made adjustments a Prideful man will never glean.
Although we feel the humiliation keenly when we are insulted, persecuted or calumniated, this does not mean that we cannot suffer such trials with sentiments of true humility, subjecting nature to reason and faith and sacri- ficing the resentment of our self-love to the love of God. - Humility of Heart
If you’re one of those authors, thank you and now go and “cancel your own G-d Damn subscription”!
Captain & Tenille Were Right: Love Will Keep Us Together
The greatest thing I’ve learned in all these 30 years is that my responsibility as a LIVE! talk-radio presenter is in loving my audience on any given day because it is only by loving them that I can defend their ears and thus intellects and souls from hearing error to say nothing of my prayerful resistance to giving it an assist. This struggle is greater than you think and I am letting on here because the ENTIRETY of the Media Industrial Complex’s system of rewards, awards and fake love is based upon the broadcaster’s promotion and defense of error. Mortally sinful, demonic, lethal error. No man is expressing love but rather Pride in promoting this error especially those who claim they must… because “liberty!”. We were warned about this by 10 Pope’s in succession e.g.
If unbridled license of speech and of writing be granted to all, nothing will remain sacred and inviolate; even the highest and truest mandates of natures, justly held to be the common and noblest heritage of the human race, will not be spared. Thus, truth being gradually obscured by darkness, pernicious and manifold error, as too often happens, will easily prevail. - Leo XIII, Libertas Præstantissimum
And “easily prevail” it has as tens of millions now seek, through what they vulgarly call “broadcasting”, and the defense & promotion of error, the mantle of being “the next big thing” or in “going viral” (whose very words should makes us think of sickness and death but with what skill do the demons manipulate our language). By pursuing Humility I have had to “unlearn” nearly everything I ever learned from my program directors, consultants and various “experts” and the most humbling yet beautiful of all these is: Small Is Beautiful.
Man was never meant for the scale of Industrial Modernity he was made in God’s image for the scale of the community in which he lives. In likewise, broadcasting was meant for the scale of community as well. This is why the earliest radio stations were identified by their frequencies and those frequencies self-limited to the scale of a maximum of a 30 mile radius from the transmitter. A broadcaster’s responsibility was to his community. Even rural communities and small towns had their own moderate power am radio stations. Who could forget the utter charm of TV’s Northern Exposure and the local radio station that served as the town’s media outlet? This is not to say that scale insures humility but it certainly removes much of the greed and avarice that follow “go big or go home”. I fancy now, and didn’t 30 years ago, that his love of the audience has been a Grace that I have received not something buried in my “Freudian subconscious”. That this love, we can call it by its Christian term, Solidarity, is what I truly aspire to. It is the desideratum that was expressed in the magnificent guilds of Christendom and it is also an imperative command.
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is no other commandment greater than these.
It Was Thirty Years Ago Today…
The KingDude taught the band to play…or rather learned to play with the band. I cannot give you a better summary of this pursuit of Humility how it is directly linked to love of my broadcasting neighbors i.e. listeners than to quote Fr. Bergamo at length.
The more we reflect upon this great virtue of humility, the more we should learn to love and honour it. It is natural to the soul to love a good which it recognizes as such, and there is no doubt that we shall love humility when we recognize its intrinsic value and the good that comes of it. Our love of what is good is measured by our knowledge of it, and in the same measure that we love we desire to obtain it, and in the measure that we desire it we embrace the most proper and efficacious means of acquiring it. It was thus that the Wise man acted in order to obtain wisdom. He loved her, desired and prayed for her, and applied his whole mind to possess her, so great was the esteem in which he held her: “Wherefore I wished, and understanding was given me, and I preferred her be- fore kingdoms and thrones, and esteemed riches nothing in comparison of her.” 1 It is necessary to thoroughly understand this doctrine because we shall never succeed in acquiring humility unless we really desire to obtain it; nor shall we ever desire it unless we have learnt to love it, nor shall we love it unless we have realized what humility really is — a great and most precious good, absolutely essential to our Eternal Welfare.
In the last 3 years of my 13 year tenure on Sirius Satellite Radio I began closing every show with a phrase that many people have repeated to me as I might have said it on-air. There is no doubt that this phrase arose a demon-inspired hatred and anger in the souls of many who were my superiors and also “former listeners” who insisted I had “lost my way…wasted my talent preaching that wretched Catholic faith”. In those ensuing 9 years, these words have, I hope, aided and assisted dozens and dozens of listener’s Conversion to the One, True Catholic Faith, including a former evolutionary atheist whose Confirmation I attended as her sponsor, in 2018. It is for these moments and nothing else, I wish to convey to anyone who will listen, why Humility is the greatest thing I have learned and am still learning in these 30 years.
If you’re trying to become “the next Big Thing” in broadcasting, forget it and remember and commit to “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God”; the humble man knows it’s the only thing that really matters. And now I’ll close with the infamous signoff from above.
May God bless you and Mary keep you.