Meditation is an act of the intellect wherewith in a natural way the mind tosses a religious thought around, looking at it from all angles and getting the most out of it. Contemplation is an act of the free will by which it relishes the natural truth the mind had played around with. The free will is what moves the intellect to continue to seek the truth after the intellect had first perceived the truth. When the free will loves the truth which the intellect had previously perceived, the free will command the intellect to further investigate or pursue the truth which the free will had learned to begin to love. This way the intellect increases in the knowledge of the truth and the free will in loving the same truth. It is not the knowledge of truth that gives joy but the contemplation of truth. So even if there is much suffering a soul that contemplates the truth remains happy.
Since in the active life or the life of repentance a soul must give up many physical and worldly things unnecessary for salvation, he must be able to contemplate the truth to experience joy in denying himself. Without this contemplation of truth no amount of knowledge in the intellect can give joy to the soul. The giving up of many worldly things unnecessary for salvation becomes unbearable if the soul does not at the same time contemplate the truth. It is the contemplation of truth that enables the soul to possess the truth that results in joy or happiness.
Meditation and contemplation influence and interact with each other one causing the other continuously to rise up to the heights of the Beatitude.
The purpose of meditation is to discover the good. The object of the contemplation is to love and possess the good. The two together produces 'devotion' which is an act of the will by which a soul promptly gives himself to the service of God. Pope Benedict reminds us in the Year of the Priest that we priests must contemplate, not merely meditate, on the teachings of the Church. This is the only way we could be of service to the Church.
We see the insurmountable situation that impedes the diocesan priest from meditating and contemplating. The religious have less reasons for not being able to do so. But when their ignorance is the 'hypocritical' kind wherein they chose to remain ignorant so they do not have to be engaged in such seemingly useless activity that will lessen their life of indulgence, then we have a great crisis even a 'Year of the Priest' will not solve.