Author Archives: admin

Santa’s Priority: Keeping Christ in Christmas

Tom Peterson
TAN Books, 24 pages

Looking for a kids’ storybook on the real meaning of Christmas, and keeping the gift of Christ as its focus? Here it is. Legate Tom Peterson, host of the EWTN series “Catholics Come Home,” has published an illustrated children’s board book – with rhyming text and engaging artwork — in which Santa Claus comes to town in order to remind children of the real reason for the season. Pick it up for your children or grandchildren, and read it aloud right alongside the Nativity story and other Christmas classics on Christmas Eve — it may just help increase their appreciation for the celebration of Christmas Mass.

Order: Amazon 

Truth needs beauty

In Aquinas’ extensive treatment on depression [in the Summa Theologica], he at one point suggests a number of remedies. One of them is simply the contemplation of truth, since that is “the greatest of all pleasures.”

. . . Knowing the truth is delightful. It’s beautiful. Why? Because we were made for truth, but also because the truth about things is really good. God has made a good world with a good story that will have a good ending. “And therefore in the midst of tribulations men rejoice in the contemplation of divine things and of future happiness [Aquinas].”

In other words, we can put transcendentals together by saying, “Truth is beautiful because being is good.” Because reality is so good, it’s delightful to think about and to know.

Tragically, the secular world increasingly looks for delight by trying to forget about truth, trying to disconnect the mind from reality. Just think of all the energy that has gone into the legalization of recreational marijuana and getting it into the mainstream. The whole marijuana movement – and ultimately all recreational drug use – makes sense only if reality isn’t delightful. Those who don’t see that reality is delightful seek to stimulate their passions independently of truth . . . they manipulate themselves.

So, it is of vital moral importance to highlight the beauty of reality – or, in other words, the delightfulness of truth.

Why?

First of all, to convince people that truth is the truth. People may not have any well-defined theory of the transcendentals, but they do have an instinctive, though usually unconscious, recognition that beauty and truth go together. Fr. Thomas Dubay wrote an influential book called The Evidential Power of Beauty, whose point is to show that beauty has the power to convince people of the truth. . . .

At the beginning of Evelyn Waugh’s novel Brideshead Revisited, two college friends are talking about Catholicism. At one point in the exchange, we read this very fine bit of dialogue:
“I suppose they try and make you believe an awful lot of nonsense.”
“Is it nonsense? I wish it were. It sometimes sounds terribly sensible to me.”
“But my dear Sebastian, you can’t seriously believe it all.”
“Can’t I?”
“I mean about Christmas and the star and the three kings and the ox and the ass.”
“Oh yes, I believe that. It’s a lovely idea.”
“But you can’t believe these things because they’re a lovely idea.”
“But I do. That’s how I believe.”

Showing the beauty of truth not only draws people to the truth; it makes believers happy. It causes the faithful, who accept the truth . . . to rejoice in the truth again and thank God for their Faith.

Excerpt by John-Mark L. Miravalle, from Beauty: What It Is and Why It Matters (Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2019), from Chapter 4 “Truth and Beauty,” pp. 44-46. www.SophiaInstitute.com

JOHN-MARK L. MIRAVALLE is a professor of systematic and moral theology at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Maryland. He received his doctorate in sacred theology from the Regina Apostolorum in Rome.

Encountering Christ and growing our faith

In this issue, we highlight Christmas and the Summit, two of my favorite times. It’s unbelievable that a year has passed by again, as we ready to welcome baby Jesus back into our hearts, and celebrate being Christian. We also look forward to the coming year.

Stephen Henley

Beginning in 2020, we will again host two Summits yearly. In years past, we had two Summits annually, but with growing costs and our then membership-size not being at a level to sustain it, we decided to have just one event per year. Now, with over 5,500 members and nearly 100 chapters, we are at the size to again host two. The past several Summits have sold out. Part of our intent in having two events again is to expose more members to the Summit. Those who have attended know what a crowning jewel the Summit is to a Legatus year.

Historically, each Summit is whole unto itself. The west Summits tend to have more central and west region attendees, and the east, likewise. As we expand to two events, one will be on the east coast and one in the west; one in the fall and one in the winter. The Summit in September of 2020 will be at the beautiful Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, CO. This Summit will be hosted by the Colorado Springs Chapter and will include different speakers and theme than will our January 2020 Summit.

At next month’s Summit East hosted by the Pittsburgh Chapter, we selected the theme “Iron Sharpens Iron: Co-Responsibility of the Laity.” In Proverbs 27:17, we read: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” As Ambassadors for Christ in the Marketplace, we are called to not only refine our lay colleagues, but as Pope St. John Paul II suggested in 1988 in his Apostolic Exhortation Chrisifidelis Laici [On the Vocation and the Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World], we are called to work in active collaboration with fellow priests and religious. We must help our brothers and sisters, regardless of vocation, to that ultimate goal of getting to heaven and bringing along as many people as possible.

The Summit is built as a retreat: a chance to engage and grow your faith, away from the demands of daily life. It is an opportunity to step away and focus solely on Christ, in a way not possible in the daily hustle. Through this experience, we can sharpen ourselves and each other, and endeavor to truly walk with Him in our vocations.

If you have been to a Summit, I encourage you to share this experience with fellow members and if possible, to address your chapter. The Summit, like monthly chapter events, is an experience difficult to paint for others through advertisements, but which leaves unforgettable impact. If you have never been to a Summit, now is your time!

Lastly, as we prepare for the coming of our Lord, on behalf of all the staff at Legatus, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

STEPHEN M. HENLEY is Legatus’ executive director

Christ at the capitol: Why government must welcome the Christmas Nativity

There is a huge misconception about separation of church and state, especially pertaining to Christmas Nativities. Those claiming offense by displays of the Biblical account of Jesus’ birth often cry foul, and government officials regularly deny applications for scenes depicting the Holy Family on public property.

Christmas 2019 marks the 35th year for the “resurrected” Nativity on Chicago’s Daley Plaza. In 1984, when government officials nearly shut it down, a lawsuit had to be filed to protect the Nativity scene and prevent physical destruction of the life-sized Holy Family statues. The free speech rights of Christians to proclaim their faith in public prevailed when the late Chief U.S. District Judge James B. Parsons enjoined the authorities from discriminating against religious expression at this venue where political rallies were regularly held.

The American Nativity Scene assists in placing crèches around the country. In 2012, they were denied application to add a crèche to the winter holiday display in Arlington Heights, a northwest Chicago suburb. The seasonal exhibit — installed, funded, and sponsored by the village annually since 1991 — showcased numerous scenes, including Chanukah dreidels. The Thomas More Society informed village and park leadership of their constitutional obligation to administer this traditional public forum without discrimination against religious speech. Eventually, the joyful scene of Jesus Christ’s birth was displayed in this public forum and religious freedom triumphed.

In Franklin County, Indiana, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Freedom From Religion Foundation challenged the privately funded display of a 50-year-old Nativity scene on the courthouse lawn. Joined by the Satanic Temple, they tried to have the traditional Christmas decoration ousted – with two separate lawsuits, in December 2014 and March 2015. The case was settled in December 2015 in favor of retaining the display.

Each case ended with the triumph of religious freedom. Religious speech is no less valuable or protected than nonreligious speech under the First Amendment, and that includes the expression of faith by private citizens via a Christmas Nativity display in a traditional public forum, such as a statehouse rotunda, county lawn, or town square. Currently, the American Nativity Scene sponsors Nativities at 19 state capitols and additional government locations in 36 states.

Attacks on the Nativity, both socially and legally, are now commonplace. The Thomas More Society and other public interest law firms regularly defend the rights of individuals to include their faith in their day-to-day lives, and to display symbols of that faith in the public square.

Many erroneously assume that a city or town is prohibited from sponsoring a holiday display. The law is clear. Government entities may erect and maintain celebrations of the Christmas holiday, including Nativities, as long as the crèche’s purpose is not to promote its religious content, and it is placed in context with other symbols of the season as part of an effort to celebrate the public Christmas holiday through traditional symbols. Private groups may utilize public space if it is made available by government for events involving non-religious expression.

Challenges to public expression of Christian faith can be expected to escalate. While deeply held personal beliefs are at the root of the desire to share the true meaning of Christmas, it is never the government’s role to endorse or support such. The focus must always be on the right to express one’s beliefs in public. Believers should be ready to address an intolerance of Christianity, despite a demand that all else be tolerated, and hold full confidence in the fact that these displays, privately funded and sponsored, are clothed and armored with the full protection of the First Amendment of our U.S. Constitution.

Those interested in setting up a large Nativity scene in a public space at no cost can visit: americannativityscene.com

THOMAS OLP is vice president and senior counsel at the Thomas More Society (https://www.thomasmoresociety.org/) a not-for-profit, national public interest law firm dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family, and religious liberty. Educated at Georgetown University and The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law, Tom’s early practice revolved around labor and employment law and litigation in the nation’s capital. He has been with the Thomas More Society since 2007.

Back pain – the downside of being upright

In any group of people, asking about back pain will produce nods and frowns. About 80 percent of adults experience low back pain at some point in their life, and it’s the most common cause of job-related disability, a leading contributor to missed work days. About 20 percent of people affected by acute low back pain develop chronic pain.

Back pain is often associated with general degeneration of the spine due to normal wear and tear with aging. The discs begin to lose fluid and flexibility, which decrease their ability to cushion the spine. The likelihood of back pain also increases among people who are not physically fit. An increasing amount of research points to a hereditary component, identified by DNA analysis of families with widespread back pain. Jobs that require heavy lifting, pushing, or pulling have a higher incidence of back pain. At the opposite end of the physical demand spectrum, a desk job may also contribute to back pain, as the sitting position increases the pressure within the lumbar discs. Finally, there is clear evidence that smoking leads to premature degeneration of the lumbar discs, with an increased likelihood of back pain.

Fortunately, surgery is rarely indicated, and there are a multitude of useful nonsurgical treatments, including the application of heat and/or cold and massage. Recommendation for bed rest should be limited, as those who avoid bed rest are more likely to improve faster. Other common treatment methods include over-the-counter medications, physical therapy, and spinal manipulation. More involved but less frequent options can include spinal injections provided in a pain clinic.

Once chronic back pain has developed, the emphasis should be on maximizing symptom management. For those with a desk job, standing and walking frequently during the work day can be very helpful. Ergonomically designed furniture, such as standing desks and lumbar support chairs, may help to reduce symptoms, with particular attention to the most appropriate height for the work surface.

The benefits of a regular exercise program as the most effective tool for management of chronic back pain have been clearly demonstrated. The most important factor is to identify an individual program that works best, and then remain committed to it. This can include walking, swimming, cycling, yoga, low-impact aerobics, and many other regimens.

Affliction of back pain has been noted throughout human history. With our upright posture, the spine bears significant stress regardless of our level of activity. The future of spine care will be best focused on improved means of preventing the degenerative changes that lead to back pain, as well as identification of the most effective and consistent means of diminishing its impact.

TIMOTHY MILLEA, M.D. has practiced as an orthopedic spine surgeon in the Quad Cities area of Iowa and Illinois since 1992. He is an active member of the Catholic Medical Association and serves on the board of directors, as well as being CMA’s state representative for Iowa, and president of the St. Thomas Aquinas Guild of the Quad Cities.

WHAT TO SEE: Multiplying acts of kindness, despite personal hardship

The Least of These: A Christmas Story
Tayla Lynn, G. Michael Nicolosi, Emma Faith, Duane Allen, Deborah Allen
Run time: 101 min • Not Rated

Single mom rose and her seven-year-old daughter Katy don’t have it easy. They sleep in a junkyard vehicle, tidy up in a diner restroom, and face a future as bleak as it is uncertain. And little Katy has never had a Christmas present.

That’s the setup for The Least of These: A Christmas Story, originally a 2018 release now available on Hoopla and other digital streaming services.

Rose was fortunate to work as a waitress at the diner. When she first arrived there pleading for a meal for her daughter in exchange for some dishwashing, the proprietor hired her on the spot. He even allows Rose to sell her paintings there, although she chooses to do so anonymously. And they do sell – mainly to one mysterious buyer.

Meanwhile, a storefront bell-ringing Santa becomes a regular at the diner for breakfast, and after some initial friction with Rose and Katy he takes an active interest in their family situation – just as Katy does in his.

For Rose and Katy, their kindness toward others is returned a hundredfold, and from places they’d least expect. To accept the opportunities presented by others, Rose must get past her self-effacing mantras: “I’m just a country girl,” “I’m just a waitress who paints.” And little Katy, despite her own impoverished life, expresses concern for “the least of these,” those less fortunate than even she is.

A bit different from your usual Christmas fare, The Least of These isn’t a modern classic by any means. The final third drags a bit, the dots in the storyline don’t all connect well, and there are some obvious puzzling questions (why do they offer Rose a job but let her keep living in an abandoned car?). But the story in this family-friendly film has some nice touches that get us away from the usual crop of Christmas-themed Santa knockoffs and rom-coms. And it will give children and grandchildren a peek at how some of “the least of these” around us must live.

GERALD KORSON is a Legatus magazine staff writer.

Living Christmas should last all year

Anyone who knows me – just ask my staff at HLI – knows I eagerly look forward to the season of Christmas and the wondrous, life-giving message it brings every year. While many do everything possible to celebrate Christmas, they often do so at the expense of why it is worth celebrating.

Shamefully, Christmas has been commercialized and the story of salvation history replaced with secular, nonreligious imagery and stories. With each successive year, the historic event of the Incarnation and Nativity of the Lord, which has forever transformed human history, is celebrated less and less. Our eyes, hearts, and minds are systematically being averted away from the central teaching of Christmas: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Christmas celebrates the birth of a Child into this world. This Child lived among us, leaving an indelible imprint. He existed in time – in Bethlehem, Nazareth, Galilee, and Jerusalem. This is a reality that some choose to reject, but it cannot be denied. The Child in the crib we contemplate is the Redeemer of the world and of everyone in it. He came that we might have eternal life – to desire, look forward to, and possess after death: “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

There is nothing wrong with enjoying the festivity and beauty of Christmas, to experience it in the richness and history of our cultures. I, too, love many things about the season: its music, decorations, food, social gatherings, and the generally joyous and charitable spirit the season encourages. The challenge, however, is to avoid being drawn into the superficial, consumeristic mentality and behavior associated with the secular culture’s definition of Christmas, which attempts to overload our senses and draw us away from Christmas’ true meaning and offering to humanity.

Christmas is a feast about Love and how Love entered human history. It is a holy time that invites us to reflect on the most profound issues in life, an occasion of spiritual renewal. Christmas invites us to stretch our hearts and minds and live the spiritual life extraordinarily and deeply. It helps us to nurture within ourselves that unconditional love for our brothers and sisters that the occasion symbolizes, always remembering “that for your sake He became poor although He was rich, so that by His poverty you might become rich” (2 Corinthians 2:8-9).

Sadly, we cannot deny we live in a world that no longer inspires us toward God and eternal life. Yet, with every Christmas comes a message of love, hope, and renewal that instills great joy in the human heart because the Mediator, Savior, and Healer came to redeem us. We rejoice because our Creator and Lord has taken on human flesh and begun His reign over our hearts, not only as God, but also as the Son of Man among the children of men – Emmanuel, God with us.

So, how does Christmas impact us? Are we being averted from faithfully living out the true meaning of Christmas? Do we do Christmas, treating it as many do in secular society? Or, do we embrace Christmas’ fundamental message and the profound opportunity it offers in reconnecting us with the One who came that we might have life? And, finally, will we simply pack Christmas away with the decorations, or will we live Christmas throughout the year?

FATHER SHENAN J. BOQUET is the president of Human Life International (www.hli.org), and a priest of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, LA.

Leaders, opt for patience over tolerance

Truth be told, among all the types of Catholic leaders we provide training and formation to, my favorite to work with are seminarians. I’m inspired by their authentic zeal, and despite the seeming narrowness of their perspective, I am grateful for their desire to probe and challenge in order to understand the landscape in which they will, God willing, one day serve. One bright seminarian this year asked me, “Sum it up for us. What’s the biggest leadership challenge you see in the Church.” I answered, “Too much tolerance for mediocrity.” There were head nods and smiles. Then I continued, “And too little patience for people.” Their faces turned from feeling affirmed to feeling challenged.

In my 15 years of serving bishops, priests, deacons, and lay leaders in over 100 dioceses, this is the biggest tension I see at every level and I think it is also applicable for Catholic CEOs (and not only CEOs of Catholic organizations).

Let’s be clear: tolerance and patience are not the same. Tolerance, and especially tolerance for mediocrity, is a test of how much pain we can endure and how much pain we are willing to inflict on others for the sake of not having to change. I see it constantly. I can’t tell Sally she’s rude, that would hurt her feelings. We can’t start that project over, we’ve spent so much time already. We have to keep the pianist, he’s been with us forever. We wait, we complain to others, we wish the person would just leave, and the situation only gets worse. Because not only does the person or people who are the source of the challenge continue to create challenge, other people — especially top performers — become disillusioned, frustrated, and begin to plot their exit or start to exit mentally. Tolerance is often a nefarious condition. While we think we are maintaining, we really are losing.

And yet the other side of the coin can be just as dangerous. We lack patience for the people we lead and serve. We don’t understand why they “don’t just get it,” or we muster the courage to give them some direct feedback and after one conversation, they still don’t change. How dare they! People don’t respond to things in the way we expect. When they don’t seek the truth or understand the context, our impatience turns to frustration, our frustration into malaise or anger, and we tell ourselves “they’re just not worth it. It’s just not worth it.”

Tolerance is a trap. Patience is a virtue. As CEOs we need to be vigilant against tolerating mediocrity in our workplace culture. If we don’t, we begin a race to lowest common denominator which will always result in failure to our bottom lines and more importantly failure to our people who deserve better. Yet as we engage in those hard conversations and challenge assumed constraints, we are called to do so with great patience. Patience not only speaks to who we are, it speaks to who we believe others have the potential to be. It speaks to how much we believe they too are made in God’s image and likeness.

As ambassadors for Christ in the marketplace, one of the most effective things we can do to proclaim the Gospel is to remove the false choice between truth and love. Love is truth. Truth is love. True love and real truth require us to challenge patiently. Lowering the bar will never allow us to achieve our goals. Neither will expecting others to raise the bar without our help. We need only look to our ultimate model of leadership, Jesus Christ, for the playbook as to what it looks like to love people patiently, painfully to the truth.

DAN CELLUCCI is the CEO of the Catholic Leadership Institute (www.catholicleaders.org) which provides leadership training and support to Church leaders throughout the world. Dan is a frequent speaker to Legatus chapters

Bismarck CEO: motivate staff as a Catholic servant-leader

Vern Dosch, Vice President of Legatus’ new Bismarck Chapter which chartered October 22, is an ardent proponent of servant leadership. As president and CEO of National Information Solutions Cooperative, a technology company headquartered in North Dakota, Dosch, 66, credits that philosophy with attracting and retaining its talented workforce.

“If you take care of your people, if you invest in your people, if you’re empathetic and compassionate and create that type of a trusting environment, people will come and people will stay,” said Dosch, who wrote about his company’s cooperative business model, servant leadership, and shared values in his 2015 book, Wired Differently.

Dosch will share some of the lessons and insights he has obtained over 44 years with NISC when he addresses the 2020 Legatus Summit as a featured speaker. He recently spoke with Legatus magazine.

What are you going to be speaking about at the Legatus Summit?

My talk is really going to be about two main topics: One is just my own Catholic journey.

The second will focus on what it means to be a Catholic in the work environment, specifically a Catholic as a servant leader.

What is a servant leader?

There is this vision or persona of the CEO as the smartest guy or gal in the room who has to be up on all the topics and an expert on every facet of the organization. At NISC, we have about 1,400 employees, customers in all 50 states, diverse products, and a very diverse workforce. I’ve really come to understand that the role of the CEO isn’t to be the smartest person out in front, but to create an environment and culture where people can grow and thrive. So for me, my role has become more of a facilitator, more of a servant to the talent that we have in this organization — which can create an environment that will cause really good, smart people to come here and stay here.

How does the servant leader model benefit your company?

Particularly with the current generation [of employees], it isn’t just about money. They want to work for a place they believe in. They want to work for a CEO, a management group, and a board of directors that they can trust. That is just as important as their wage. Don’t get me wrong. You’ve got to be competitive, but creating an environment where they feel empowered and appreciated is important.

How does your Catholic faith inform your approach as CEO?

My Catholic faith teaches me humility, compassion, and the importance of taking care of others. In this line of business, traditionally all the focus is on the bottom line of the organization and returning shareholder wealth. But for us, the philosophy is to create an environment, encourage people to stay, earn their trust, and serve them so that they understand you’re willing to invest in their career and you’re willing to invest in them personally.

Every place has a mission statement, but if you were to walk through the halls of NISC and you asked people to describe the major motivation of this organization, they would tell you, “Do the right thing always.” For me, “do the right thing” is the basis of my Catholic faith.

What have been your impressions of Legatus?

My biggest surprise was when I walked into our first chapter meeting and saw the other people who were there. I was like, “What? I’ve known you in the community for all these years, and I didn’t even know you were Catholic.” It’s just been an extraordinary experience and allowed me to build some relationships with people who I had known casually for years, but didn’t really know that we shared the same Catholic faith. Legatus has been one of the most affirming things that I’ve been involved with in terms of strengthening, affirming, and encouraging my own Catholic faith, and for that I’m just so grateful.

Fruitcake reaches back 2000 years – to Christ

As this season of faith, family, and food approaches, I reminisce not only about holiday seasons past, but also about the original Christmas day so many centuries ago. On a 2013 trip to Israel, I had the privilege of standing in Shepherd’s Field, once traversed by Joseph, Mary, and Jesus, still cradled in His mother’s womb. This was the field where shepherds first saw the rising Christmas star and angels heralded the birth of the newborn king. This was Bethlehem. In Hebrew, “Bet Lehem,” meaning “House of Bread.”

While it may have been wanderlust that brought me to Israel, it was wonder that overcame my senses at every turn of this journey. How can you stand at the genesis of salvation history and not be overcome with wonder? In Bethlehem, I knelt in amazement, as a child does on Christmas morning, when placing my hand on the site of the nativity. I thought of the Magi’s gifts: gold for the child’s kingship, frankincense representing His priestly role, and myrrh foreshadowing the God-man’s destiny on Calvary. There is no greater gift that any of us receive than redemption through the sacrifice of the Bread of Life.

We receive the body and blood of Jesus every Sunday; we break bread with family and friends at meals; we give gifts during the Christmas season in the form of cookies, cakes, and breads. My favorite holiday bread – to give or receive – is fruit bread, which you may know as fruitcake.

According to some researchers, fruit bread was first made 2,000 years ago with pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and raisins mixed into barley mash. In the Middle Ages, fruit bread consisted of spices, honey, and fruit preserves. In the 19th century, fruit bread became the traditional wedding cake of England. Fruitcake by any other name is still fruit bread: Italian Panettone, German Stolen, Bulgarian Keks, Mexican Three Kings Bread, Spanish King Cake or Twelfth Night Epiphany Bread, Dutch Ontbijtkoek, Norwegian Julekake, Czech Vanocka, Provence Pompe de Noel, Slovenian Potica, Greek Christopsomo or “Christ Bread,” and Romanian Cozonac.

My gift to you this Christmas season was actually bequeathed to me from my maternal grandmother: her recipe for Super-Moist Fruitcake. Don’t laugh! There is no doubt that this humble yet remarkable dessert will make you wonder why you never tasted such a delicious fruit bread before.

CHEF JOHN D. FOLSE is an entrepreneur with interests ranging from restaurant development to food manufacturing, catering to culinary education. A cradle-Catholic, he supports many Catholic organizations including the Sister Dulce Ministry at Cypress Springs Mercedarian Prayer Center in Baton Rouge, LA.

MICHAELA D. YORK is vice president of communications for John Folse & Company.

 

MAMÈRE’S SUPER-MOIST FRUITCAKE • prep time: 3 hours • yields: 1 cake

Ingredients

4 oz. each, candied red and green cherries
8 oz. candied pineapple, coarsely chopped
8 oz. packaged pitted dates, coarsely chopped
1 c. raisins
1 c. Craisins® Original Dried Cranberries
1 c. each, chopped pecans and walnuts
3 c. self-rising flour, divided
4 large eggs
1½ c. sugar
1 c. melted butter
2 tsps ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 c. pineapple juice
½ c. brandy
6 each, candied red cherries and green cherries, optional
additional brandy or cognac for flavoring, optional

Method:

Preheat oven to 275°F. Grease one (10-inch) tube pan, set aside. In large mixing bowl, combine fruit and nuts with 1 cup flour until well coated. Set aside. In separate bowl, combine eggs, sugar, and melted butter, blending well with spatula. Continue to stir, while slowly adding remaining flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pineapple juice. Whip ingredients thoroughly until well blended. Add fruit-nut mixture and ½ cup brandy; then mix until thoroughly combined. Pour batter into greased tube pan and bake approximately 2½ hours or until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
NOTE: After 1½ hours of cooking, you may wish to gently press 6 candied red cherries and 6 candied green cherries into the top of the fruitcake for decorative purposes. Continue to cook for the remaining hour. Once cake is done, remove from oven and cool. Once cooled, cover with aluminum foil and store in refrigerator. From time to time, ladle 1 or 2 tablespoons brandy or cognac over cake for a spiked flavoring.
NOTE: You may wish to bake 4 or 5 of these cakes at a time and offer them as Christmas gifts to family and friends.