Should Catholics Say "Good Luck"?

Should Catholics wish someone luck as actually wishing someone God’s blessings? I would say God bless you but it is pretty uncommon in my language.

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Why wouldn’t they?

Toward others, if I’m not sure of their faith, I’ve used secular language. When speaking of myself, on the recommendation of my priest, I’ve replaced “lucky” with “blessed.”

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I don’t use the words “luck” or “lucky”, in that I believe in Divine Providence. I won’t go so far, as to say that it is a sin for other people to speak this way, but I choose not to.

I try to speak in terms of being “blessed” or “thankful”, and am very circumspect in how I use the words “proud” or “pride”. How we speak often determines how we think, and how we think determines how our will behaves.

And I never speak in terms of “having been married” where both spouses are still living.

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I’ve actually been hesitant in some cases to speak of luck, wishes, and fate. It’s all colloquialisms, and I haven’t cut it out entirely. I don’t think it’s sinful, but there’s probably more Christian ways to speak.

I may be overthinking it, though.

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I don’t think you’re overthinking it…nor does OP. Every culture has its own conventional forms of greetings, well-wishing, farewells, etc. Also, so does every religion (e.g. pax nobiscum).

For us anglophones, the common greeting of “how are you?” when interacting with strangers is usually vapid & meaningless. We are taken aback when the stranger actually tells us in detail how their day was. The same goes for wishing luck, etc. Usually meaningless forms/gestures today…but not always. You have to decide to what extent you will cease using these…at the risk of becoming awkward when interacting with strangers.

Sadly, many of these expressions have their root in superstition and heathenism. Be careful in your social dealings with known wiccans and neo-pagans. Words DO matter when interacting with them (e.g. hexes & curses).

I think there are far more important things to be concerned about.

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“Good luck” is fine. In normal Western culture it’s not meant in any sort of superstitious manner.

I agree. The use of sayings like “Good luck” or “Best wishes” is largely colloquial in US culture. We do not sit around thinking deeply about these concepts, it simply means we wish the person all the best with their current endeavor, or that we congratulate them in a context where the words “Best wishes” are considered more mannerly than “Congratulations”. (For example, I was taught that you don’t “congratulate” a bride on her wedding because it can be taken to mean you’re congratulating her on managing to get a husband, like it was some big achievement for her because her attractiveness was in doubt.)

There are other cultures where words like luck or fate may take on some other overtones, but if you’re not dealing with those cultures on a daily basis, you don’t have to worry about it.

Just my 2 cents.

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That’s worth at least a quarter! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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I prefer to use other expressions. The choice of diction within a language subversively affects a person’s psychological and spiritual disposition.

I TRY to say God Bless.

I don’t say it, but I’m not going to prescribe for other people.

D

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However, if they’re an actor about to go on stage, NEVER say it, say “Break a leg.” Hehe

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The ideas of luck or chance are not contrary to divine providence, so long as we understand them with relation to their proximate cause, and not their ultimate cause.

St. Thomas addresses this in depth in a couple places in the Summa on fate and providence respectively:

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1116.htm#article1

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1022.htm#article2

So, when we wish someone good luck, as long as we understand the ultimate cause, it’s fine IMO.

Ascribing a causal power over fate to an inanimate objects or particular events (e.g. a black cat crossing your path) would be superstition. See Chapter 20 here from St. Augustine (the second paragraph of that chapter has some funny examples):

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/12022.htm

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Luck I was taught, is pagan in origin.

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No I wouldn’t. You want to learn to take custody of your thoughts and this is not the way to do that. Essentially everything should be turned toward God, that’s just one way of not doing that in speech. If you feel uncomfortable wishing someone Gods blessings then use other language like ‘I hope your…test/exam/appointment etc. goes well for you’ or ‘I wish you all the best’ or even ‘bless you’ then pray for them. Here in England it is not generally recognised in the secular world to say God bless you either but for some reason people accept ‘bless you’ quite easily. Just say anything that is asking for their good as God is good so you are asking God for their good. But you are right to steer clear of language implying that anything is to do with chance, it’s not. Give God his due.

I don’t believe you’re overthinking it at all. I don’t use the word “fate” either.

First of all, happy birthday, @Tis_Bearself. Many happy returns of the day.

That is a very intriguing reason for not “congratulating” a bride, and I had never thought of it that way before.

My problem has always been with the sticky wicket of being expected to “congratulate” people who are entering into illicit or invalid marriages. I just say something like “best wishes and happiness always”, with the mental reservation of “but most of all, I wish you happiness in eternity, which will mean eventually regularizing your situation, something for which I shall pray“. But of course I do not say that, due as much to prudence, as to that kind of laryngitis that develops when we are called upon to correct someone fraternally, but just can’t bring ourselves to do it, lest we lose both human respect and friendship.

You can always wish someone happiness and blessings. You don’t have to go into detail about “most of all I wish that you don’t end up in hell”.

True, but in these scenarios, I feel as though I am being called upon to give approbation of their lifestyle, and I really do not wish to do that. Anybody who knows me, knows what I believe in, and I shouldn’t have to come right out and tell them. If I am forced to speak in a roundabout manner, and if they misinterpret it, to a very large extent that is on them. If they want a fulsome, full-throated endorsement of their lifestyle from me, then they need to adhere to principles compatible with Catholicism in the first place.

If they were ever to ask me “how can you wish us well when we are entering into a union that you consider sinful?”, then they will have “walked into it“ and I will be able further to elaborate. Again, that is on them. People nowadays usually do not take well to fraternal correction. It never ceases to amaze me, how people set up emotional and spiritual trip-wires, and then profess to be scandalized when you trip over them.

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My platitude when I knowingly speak to someone who is irreligious? “I wish you all the best!” I think this is a good sentiment without offense.

I soured on “luck” a couple years ago. I decided that it is more of a question of being “blessed” and “thankful” much like @HomeschoolDad. I know that “luck” can be interpreted in an orthodox way and does not necessarily need to be excluded from a Christian’s vocabulary, but I think that most people interpret it in a secular way, relying on it heavily, thinking that “the Universe” is sentient and hoping it will be kind, etc. So I keep “luck” at bay most times and choose to say “I felt thankful” or “I was blessed to have…”

If a faithful Catholic wishes me “good luck” and I’m feeling cheeky, I’ll just retort “I don’t believe in luck!” which is a bit of an overstatement, but gets the point across that I’d rather rely on providence!

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