The dictionary meaning of vocation is “a strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation, lie a nurse, lawyer or doctor. This would be a secular meaning.
In spiritual sense when we talk about vocation, it can be as simple as fulfilling out your married life to your spouse and children, or can be fighting abortion while making some sacrifices along the way, could be a call to be a priest or nun, or being a single person serving the poor in third world country or even being a dedicated legionary.
However vocation can be layered out because God could call us to have that strong feeling to do his will at a particular time.
But what does vocation really mean in our relationship with God, and what are some examples
Example of vocation, John the Baptist. John was to carry out his task the full, even to the extent of giving his life in the fulfillment of his vocation. Many came to know Jesus through John the Baptist apostolic work.
One’s vocation embraces one whole life, and our whole being works towards fulfilment of the divine mission. Each person has a God given vocation. The divine will desires many other things that depend on the fulfillment of that vocation. Many great things depend – don’t forget it – on whether you and I live our lives as God’s wants. Do we bring the people around us closes to God? Do we give good example in the way we carry out our work, in our family circle, in our social relations. Do we speak about God to our colleges.
A vocation is a great honor. When one freely decides to follow Christ completely it takes preference over other plans. God’s call come first, everything else has to take second place, for example from Mathew 10:34 “He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me” Christ's words don’t create any incompability between the First or fourth commandments, but rather highlight their mutual relationship. It appears the reading is for those who may be called to serve God and the church as their spouse by being a priest or nun, and so for these children that their love for their parents cannot take precedence over love for God. Ordinarily there will be little reason for conflict to rise.
Overall, it would be sad for anyone to reject the vocation they are being called to turn a deaf ear to God’s call for what ever reason. To follow our Lord properly calls for completely unfettered detachment, a freedom of heart that is not hampered by sadness or regret, which would only lead to half hearted self giving; the person concerned also need to have the necessary autonomy to fulfil God’s will.
When someone gives their heart completely to God, it is returned more youthful and enlarged, with a greater capacity to love others. Vocation is God’s initiative; He knows well what is best for the person called.
A vocation can give us a new meaning, even to the most ordinary things. The whole of life is effected by Our lords plans for each one of us. The discovery of one’s personal vocation is the most important point in each person’s vocation, is the most important point in each person’s existence. It changes everything without changing anything; just as a landscape , without changing , is different before and after the sun goes down, beneath the light of the moon, or wrapped in the darkness of night. Every discovery give a new beauty to things and a new light creates new shadows, one discovery is the prelude to other discoveries of new lights and more beauty.
Our Lord has chosen all of us, some of us with a specific vocation – to follow him, to imitate him and to carry on in the world the work of his redemption. And from all of us he expects a joyful and unshakeable faithfulness.
From "Conversation with God" Fr. Fernandez