I invite all to pray against the bushfires now raging especially in Victoria, where high winds and roasting temperatures (Melbourne's just broken its all-time record, having reached 46.4°C) have lead to many houses being lost to fire in sundry country towns - as of late to-night, at least 14 are confirmed killed (God rest their souls), and a hundred homes lost. [For updates, see this link.]
What to do when helpless to help? Pray. For what it's worth, I've been saying Ave's in honour of Our Lady of Good Counsel - a sacred image of Our Lady under this title (itself a copy of the miraculous original venerated at Gennazzano) was given to Bishop Salvado, founder of New Norcia in Western Australia, by St Vincent Pallotti; when the nascent monastery was threatened by destruction by a bushfire, the monks brought out this painting and prayed for aid before the impending flames, which were averted, it is piously believed, by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin.
(During my trips to New Norcia, I've always been careful to go to the Abbey Church and there kneel before the her image above and behind her altar, to commend myself and my cares to her care: the Mother of God does not make manifest her maternal mediation with her Son in such wondrous wise for nothing.)
If I had my way (watch out, world!), I'd appoint the feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel (26th April) to be kept throughout Australia, and a Votive Mass of the same to be prescribed to be said against bushfires. At the very least, a new set of Votive Prayers need to be inserted in the Missal: for there are already prayers for rain, for fine weather, against storms, even for use in time of earthquakes - and Australia is plagued by bushfires each long hot summer. Really, how long have we Catholics been in this country, and there isn't even some official prayer for this?
Recordare, Virgo Mater, in conspectu Dei, ut loquaris pro nobis bona, et ut avertat indignationem suam a nobis (alleluia).(Remember, Virgin Mother, in the sight of God, that thou ask for us good things, and that he turn away His indignation from us (alleluia).)
– Offertory, Mass of Our Lady of Good Counsel.
To-day I learnt that the brother of David Schütz is a seasoned firefighter, who has been awarded for his sterling work; thinking of the fireys battling bushfire in hot and dangerous conditions makes one think of the difference between purgatory (in this life or the next) and hell - the former is hot and unpleasant, the latter far worse and far hotter, being the second death which is eternal.
The Anglicans in Australia pray in their Litany "From earthquake and tempest, from drought, fire, and flood... Good Lord, deliver us", and have:
A Prayer in Time of Drought, Flood, or BushfireAll things look to you, O Lord, to give them their food in due season: look in mercy on your people, and hear our prayer for those whose lives and livelihood are threatened by drought (or flood, or fire). In your mercy save both man and beast. Guide and bless the labours of your people, that we may enjoy the fruits of the earth and give you thanks with grateful hearts. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
– n. 5, "Prayers for Various Occasions",
An Australian Prayer Book (1978).