Ain’t no mountain high enough

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

It’s a title of a Motown soul song originally done my Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell in 1966 and covered by Diana Ross in 1970. It was a big hit as it proclaimed the good news of hope whatever may happen in our life.

Part of its lyrics says: “Listen baby/ain’t no mountain high/ain’t no valley low/ain’t no river wide enough, baby/if you need me call me/no matter where you are/no matter how far/don’t worry, baby/just call my name/I’ll be there in a hurry/you don’t have to worry.”

It’s a love song, but it’s actually Bible-inspired. It can be used to connect us to our true Lover, and not just any human lover. The idea behind is that whatever happens in life, in the high moments or the lows, God is always there for us. We have no reason to worry. God takes care of everything.

In the Book of Isaiah, we have the following pertinent passages that serve as basis for this song. “Every valley shall be raised up/every mountain and hill made low/the rough ground shall become level/and the rugged places a plain/And the glory of the Lord will be revealed/and all people will see it together.” (40,4-5)

These words should be engraved deeply and permanently in our mind and heart. Whenever we are face problems, difficulties, and issues that are hard to resolve, let’s remember these reassuring words.

The beauty of this song is that it makes God’s assurance of his constant care for us very easy to be felt. Human as we are, we need to feel God’s love for us, his mercy and comfort for us. We just shouldn’t be too cerebral about this. We need emotions, feelings, and passions as well.

I sometimes advise people to sing an appropriate popular song that can throb in their heart to bring to our mind a pertinent divine quality that is applicable to a particular situation. I think it was St. Augustine who said “he who sings prays twice.” I believe it’s because when we sing we express what we have in our heart.

Given the temper nowadays of people whose thoughts are often set in some melody, suggesting to them some appropriate popular love songs can have better effects than asking them to read and meditate a serious, cerebral book.

Not that meditating on some spiritual book serves no purpose or is counterproductive. It’s indispensable. It’s just that we have to help others by suggesting ways or processes in a gradual manner. For many, songs are easier to appreciate than books, though later on, books give a deeper mooring.

In my work as priest who has to give a lot of advice to people, especially young ones, I see that many of them can relate to songs more easily than books. So, I collect titles of songs whose messages are appropriate to their different situations and predicaments.

Nowadays, many young people find themselves in some grave predicaments. Cases of persistent anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts are increasing. Very often, they resort to some escape mechanisms or deceptive and fake cures to address their problems, but these only worsen things.

There’s a great need to reach out to them, but in ways that they can easily relate. There’s definitely a need for accompaniment which can be sustained if it is done in the context of the concrete conditions of the person concerned, not the hypothetical or theoretical conditions.