My friend Ray Kalainikas has a banner hanging in front of his house boldly advertising the Golden Rule: “Treat every human being as you would want to be treated.” Ray says, “Wouldn’t it be life-changing if everyone put the Golden Rule outside their house to remind all of us what the world should be like?”
He says he would also like to see the words “Follow the Golden Rule” on the back of every police car as a reminder to police officers and citizens of how to act.
Most people know of the Golden Rule, but Ray believes few know it is found in the Sermon on the Mount.
“The more I look at ‘Love God and neighbor,’ I realize this is the Golden Rule,” he says. “We are all called to build the life of God within the human condition. My understanding of mission keeps evolving.”
Mahatma Gandhi, one of Ray’s heroes, understood that the summary of the Sermon on the Mount is the Golden Rule, Ray says, yet people don’t always accept the concept of love your enemy. “But how does one love God if one hates one’s neighbor?” Ray asks.
I met Ray and his wife, Deborah, here at Maryknoll during Jubilee celebrations about six years ago. They support Maryknoll through donations and by coming to events sponsored by the mission society. They have also given me wonderful hospitality at their home in Manalapan, N.J., when I am visiting parishes and schools in the area.
For over 40 years running a work-shoe sales business by catalogue, Ray has been able to meet many people on the road with whom to share and develop his ideas.
Ray and Deborah regularly go to civic meetings, write letters and talk with folks of all backgrounds, going to different sources to inform their opinions and trying to help others understand the implications of the Golden Rule in everyday life. Ray promotes the Golden Rule as being in complete opposition to the willful destruction of any human life, from abortion to war.
Ray was a Maryknoll college seminarian in the early 1960s. His goal was to get a better understanding of God’s will and to help establish it in human society. After finding out that priesthood wasn’t for him, he officially left Maryknoll but kept Maryknoll in his heart and continues his goal of looking for God’s will in his life.
I enjoy talking with Ray and Deborah about mission, theology and philosophy, religion, cultures and the world we live in.
Ray appreciates Maryknoll’s worldwide, Jesus-based message expressed in Maryknoll’s ministries among different cultures and peoples. And because the Golden Rule is an important belief in all the world’s major religions, Ray feels it’s a perfect rule to enhance and encourage ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, which is also a goal of Maryknoll.
“When I read, ‘Seek the Kingdom of God and all His justice,’ I realize the Creator knows how we are and how we are supposed to work, like a watchmaker knows the watch,” he says. “The Golden Rule is the ultimate summary of how the Creator wants us to behave, as Jesus taught.”
Featured Image: Outside his house, Ray Kalainikas (l.) shows Brother John Blazo the banner Ray created. (D. Smarth/U.S.)