Contemplation is not simply one possible form among others of the act of knowing. Its special character does not flow from its being a particular aspect of the process of knowing. What distinguishes — in both senses of that word — contemplation is rather this: it is a knowing which is inspired by love. “Without love there would be no contemplation.”
Contemplation is a loving attainment of awareness. It is intuition of the beloved object.
— Josef Pieper, Happiness and Contemplation