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“And almost every day I get angry,” Father Guido said. But, he added, the situation is a learning opportunity, a “crash course” with two possible outcomes: “You come out of this either an angel or a devil.”

Dealing With Anger. “I pray and talk to God a lot,” he said. “I listen to the news twice a day, but I don’t own a TV. That way I avoid overstimulating my mind with images that feed frustration.

“I focus on positive things that I can do. I notice and appreciate signs of hope – things like a Jewish friend’s recent phone call to say: ‘We are with you. We support your work.’ Or like the kindness I saw in some Jenin residents who were showing traditional Arab hospitality despite their destitution. A journalist I spoke to there pointed out the half-destroyed house where he had been staying with a Muslim family for a few days. He told me, ‘These people are receiving me with so much love. They are giving me the last things they have.’”

But anger and pain are inescapable if you are going to be the kind of missionary who identifies with the people he serves, Father Guido said.

“You become so much a part of them that it is impossible not to feel their hurt and frustration. That in itself is not bad. Christ himself experienced our sufferings when he became one of us. Now he calls us to imitate him by rising above our own anger and sin so that we can be bridges of God’s love to others.”

As Father Guido greeted a nun at an Easter morning liturgy earlier this year, he said it struck him that the scene was a visible sign of this calling to reconciliation.

“She comes from a partially Jewish background, has always worked with Jewish people and identifies with their pain. I feel incarnated in the Palestinian people. But as we wished one another a happy Easter, we felt the loving presence of Christ who transforms our suffering, making it a bridge rather than a barrier.”

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Louise Perrotta writes for The Word Among Us, which featured a version of this article.



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Tags: Palestine Occupation Second Intifada