30. PREFACE - When we are suffering an affliction, if we look for the cause, we will always find it in our own imprudence, thoughtlessness or in some past action. As con be seen, in these cases we have to attribute the suffering to ourselves. If the cause of an affliction cannot be found to stem in any way from our own actions, then we are dealing with a test in this life, or an atonement for an error committed in a previous one. In this case, by the nature of the expiation we can know the nature of the error, as we are always punished in the same manner as our sin (See chapter 5, items 4, 6 & subsequent items).
In general, we can only see the evil that is present in our afflictions. We do not see the favourable consequences they may have later on. Goodness is frequently the outcome of a past evil, just as the cure far an illness results from the painful methods used to obtain it. In any case, we must submit to the will of God and courageously support the tribulations of life if we want them to count in our favour. These words of Christ could then be applied to us; "Blessed are those who suffer" (See chapter 5, item 18).