Monday, February 27, 2012

Auricular Confession and Bodybuilding Coaching

In my early days of competitive bodybuilding, I saw many competitors who trained other, lesser-experienced competitors for contests.  I myself hired trainers to guide me in preparing for my contests.  I got to know the names of quite a few local trainers.

But after a while, I noticed something odd:  these same trainers, when it came time for them to compete, hired trainers for themselves.  I thought it odd because I reasoned that if these individuals were strong, wise, experienced, smart, and good enough to guide others, could they not guide themselves?  Sort of a twist on the Biblical injunction:  "Physician, heal thyself!"

But as I thought about it more, it made sense.  Bodybuilding contest prep is not an easy thing.  The severe diet and exercise regimens mess with your mind.  Substantially.  Even if you are experienced, you may not be the most objective decision-maker regarding your own conditioning and regarding the necessary actions to take to perfect it.  You need an outside set of eyes to help you see where your shortfalls are, where improvements can be made, and what to do in the way of a remedy for any lack.

After a long time, it struck me that the situation is like Auricular Confession within the church.  My naive view of bodybuilding coaches was akin to saying that certainly priests, being holy and good, and able to hear others' confessions, would not need themselves to confess!  It is laughable, of course, and helps point out my mistake regarding the bodybuilding coaches.

Priests confess, bishops confess, and even the Pope confesses.  And professional  bodybuilders, every one of whom has been victorious in high-level amateur competition, still have coaches.


Prester Scott said...

I agree, but I'd go further.

As you say, it is not a question of being good and holy enough to be your own confessor (even though the idea that priests are holier than other people is highly questionable!).

It is true that one's view of oneself is often too distorted to judge rightly where you would ordinarily rightly judge another, although that's a good part of it.

I think it is that life as God intended it, which is to say, life in love and relationship, requires submitting to others. Even Christ did not his own will, but submitted to the will of his Father who sent him. If the Son approves himself, it is of no value; rather, that the Father approves him. This was so despite Father and Son being co-equal in the divine nature, in the Godhead. So it is among us.

Anglican Beach Party said...

I think you are right about that submission thing, Prester Scott.