As part of its 2016 Capital Initiative Program, Metra will be spending $57.4 million on rehabilitating rail cars and locomotives. These rehabilitation projects will extend the life of commuter cars, save on fuel costs and reduce emissions, and upgrade the event recorders so they can be integrated with the Positive Train Control system.

This is all really boring, and I could really care less about any of this, except for its application to the spiritual life:

  • Our prayer life needs upgrading. We can become mindless in our prayer. We pray without reflection, without attention. When we pray mindlessly, prayer might relive our interior anxieties or it might make us feel holy, but it won't really transform us.  
  • The spiritual life requires attention. One way to think of the spiritual life is that it is our way to give thanks and praise for God's goodness. If we don't attend to it, then we take that goodness and love for granted.
  • We need to be more efficient. We need to make sure that our spiritual life is focused on loving, praising, and serving God. When we direct our spiritual practices elsewhere--toward making us feel good about ourselves, toward escaping the suffering in the world, or toward impressing others--we are simply worshiping a false idol.

Think of Lent as your Spiritual Initiative Program, a time to upgrade your prayer life so that it transforms you into the image of Christ, a time to give thanks, and a time to free yourself from the things that distract you from loving, praising, and serving God.

If you need and idea, check out this year's Lenten Meditation, The Tree of Gratitude.