A Catholic does not wear a medal for luck. Rather, they wear a medal to remind themselves either of the saint that the medal represents or of Jesus and His Mother, Mary.
Many religions have external signs of devotion that believers wear. For example, Jewish and Muslim men wear skull caps. Muslim women veil themselves in public. Catholics wear medals, crucifixes, and scapulars. Often, this sacramental is placed under one’s clothing, but can be worn externally as well.
A Catholic who wears a medal is not looking for luck, but for God’s blessing through the intercession of the saint. One famous medal Catholics wear is that of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.
It is believed that Our Lady appeared to a French Visitation Cloister Nun in Paris in the nineteenth century. She asked this nun, Sister Catherine Labore, to construct a medal with Mary’s image on it with the words on the back, “O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.” The medal also comes with a novena book to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. This perpetual novena is often prayed weekly in Catholic parishes.
A scapular consists of two pieces of cloth attached by a string; it is placed over the scapular bone. The most famous of all the scapulars is that of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. It is believed that the Blessed Mother gave this devotion to Saint Simon Stock, a member of the Carmelite order, in the twelfth century.
The scapular is like a habit of the order. Once a Catholic is enrolled into the scapular, he receives the spiritual benefits of the order. Also, the scapular is a visual reminder of the duty of the Catholic to live out the baptismal call to be a saint.
Finally, Catholics wear crucifixes either around their neck or as a ring on their fingers. The crucifix reminds the faithful daily of the price of salvation and how much God loves them.